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Given in Memory of 

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Provincial Librarian 








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The design of this work is to give a readable and comprehensive view 
of the history of Alberta from the earliest times. The author has divided 
the history of the province into three periods. The first period will cover 
the early explorations and rule of the Fur Traders. The second period 
concerns rival fur companies, the Selkirk Purchase, etc. — 1811-1821. The 
third period, which in many ways is the most wonderful of all, deals with 
the events since 1821 — tells the story of the marvelous transformation of 
the Great Lone Land into the rich and populous Alberta of today. 

The story is one of intense and instructive interest to the student of 
Canadian history. To trace the development of the political institutions 
of the newest province of the Dominion and compare it with the develop- 
ment of similar institutions in the older provinces of Canada, is an inter- 
esting study in comparative politics and highly illustrative of the manner 
in which responsible government grows in free communities. 

The wonderful material development of the province since it was opened 
for settlement is a story of enthralling interest. Less than fifty years 
ago the Blackfeet and the Crees roamed the plains and camped on the sites 
of the principal cities of the province. They hunted the buffalo and the 
antelope over the unploughed acres that now comprise the farms and home- 
steads of half a million people. Elk and deer by thousands found shelter 
in the foot-hills and mountain passes where now scores of mining towns 
and villages prosper and flourish. Less than fifty years ago there was not 
a mile of railway between the Red River and the Rockj^ Mountains. Today 
there are over six thousand miles of railway in the province of Alberta 
alone, connected with all the great transcontinental systems of Canada 
and the United States. Men traveled by dog sleighs, canoes or Red River 
carts. The only civilized persons who had penetrated the Great Lone 
Land were the Hudson's Bay traders, the hunters and trappers, the mission- 
aries and the prospectors on their way to the gold diggings of Yale and 

Today there are nearly three-quarters of a million of a population 
within the area that now comprises the province. Many of the old Indian 
trails have been surveyed and have become permanent highways. The 
people have schools and churches; colleges and universities; municipal 



institutions; thousands of miles of telephone communication; banks and 
great commercial and trading houses. The province, through its vast re- 
sources and the energy of its people — drawn from the great races of the 
world — is rapidly becoming a powerful factor in the commercial and politi- 
cal life of the Dominion of Canada. 

The story of this wonderful transformation is worthy of record. An 
earnest attempt has been made by the author and the publishers to pre- 
sent the great mass of facts with a sense of their due proportion and ulti- 
mate value as the true material of history. The author has had the 
advantage of a long residence in Western Canada, and has had the re- 
sources of the Provincial Library at Edmonton, the library of the Univer- 
sity of Alberta at his disposal, as well as the excellent collection of 
Canadiana in the possession of Hon. Dr. A. C. Rutherford, the first Premier 
of Alberta. Many valuable suggestions have been received from the 
Officers of the Alberta Historical Society, and from many of the old-timers 
to whom the rapid development of the last few years is more like a dream 
than the natural events of history. 


Chapter Page 

I. Early Explorers — Fur Traders 15 

11. Explorers and Fur Traders (Continued) 35 

III. Rival Fur Companies — Selkirk Purchase — 

Names of Chief Factors — Chief 

Traders 51 

IV. The Council of Rupert's Land — Settlement 

of Retired Employes 65 

V. George Simpson 73 

VI. Further Exploration and Travel 85 

VII. Political History of the North West Terri- 
tories and Alberta From i867-1905___ 97 

VIII. Political History of Alberta— 1905-1921 ___ 121 

IX, Autonomy, The Alberta Act and the Consti- 
tution 143 

X. Review of Municipal Government in North 

West Territories and Alberta 161 

XL The North West Mounted Police in Alberta. 171 

XII. Land and Colonization 195 

XIII. Population, Aborigines, Indian Treaties and 

Immigration 207 

XIV. Church History in Alberta 223 

XV. Church History (Continued) 253 

XVL Schools and Education 281 

XVII. Transportation and Communication 299 

XVIII. Initiation and Growth of the Live Stock In- 
dustry in Alberta .: 321 

XIX. Live Stock (Continued) 339 

XX. Irrigation and Water Conservation in 

Alberta 353 



Chapter Page 

XXL Mining Industry in Alberta 363 

XXII. Labor, Trade Unionism, Industrial Union- 
ism and Labor Legislation 375 

XXIIL Alberta in the Great War 399 

XXIV. Women's Organizations and Activities 419 

Appendix 427 



John Blue Frontispiece 

Parliament Building, Edmonton 14 

Central Park, Calgary 23 

Main Street, Medicine Hat 37 

Bird's-eye view of Medicine Hat 37 

Old Hudson's Bay Fort, Edmonton 53 

Hudson's Bay Company, Edmonton 53 

Jasper Avenue looking west, Edmonton 67 

Banff Springs Hotel 77 

Gait Park and City of Lethbridge 87 

Main Street, Lethbridge 87 

Government House, Edmonton 99 

City Hall, Calgary 109 

Edmonton Courthouse 123 

Ranchman's Club, Calgary 133 

Calgary Golf and Country Club 133 

Jackson Block and Bank of Commerce 145 

Dominion Bank 145 

Imperial Bank of Canada 145 

Banks of Edmonton 145 

Merchants Bank of Canada 155 

Canadian Bank of Commerce 155 

Molson's Bank 155 

Bank of Toronto 155 

Standard Bank of Canada 155 

Banks of Calgary 155 

Public Library, Calgary 163 

Land Titles Building and Courthouse, Calgary 163 

Fort Calgary, 1878 173 

North West Mounted Police Barracks, Macleod 183 

Royal North West Mounted Police Barracks, Edmonton 183 

Plan of a Section 203 

Plan of a Township 203 

Duck Chief, Blackfoot Indian 209 

Yellow Horse, Head Chief of Blackfoot Indians 215 

Treaty No. 7, 1877 219 

First Presbyterian Church 225 

First Baptist Church 225 

McDougall Church 225 



Holy Trinity Church 225 

Churches of Edmonton . 225 

Roman Catholic Church, Calgary 235 

Catholic Church and Separate School, Edmonton 235 

McDonald Hotel, Edmonton 255 

Y. M. C. A., Edmonton___ 255 

First Baptist Church 267 

Knox Church (Presbyterian) 267 

Churches of Calgary 267 

Westmount School, Edmonton 283 

Victoria High School, Edmonton 283 

Normal School, Calgary 289 

Jesuit College, Edmonton 295 

Art Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton 295 

Misericordia Hospital, Edmonton 3'05 

General Hospital, Edmonton 305 

Royal Alexandra Hospital, Edmonton 305 

Merchants Bank of Canada 315 

Bank of British North America 315 

National Trust Company Building 315 

Royal Bank of Canada 315 

Banks of Edmonton , 315 

Banff, Alberta 325 

Postoffice, Edmonton 333 

Civic Block, Edmonton 333 

Calgary, 1918 343 

First Street West, looking north from Tvs^elfth Avenue, Calgary 343 

Main Street, Macleod 355 

Old Newcastle Mine, Drumheller, First Shipping Mine 365 

Alberta Coal Mine, Drumheller 365 

Canadian Pacific Railroad Building, Edmonton 377 

McLeod Block, Edmonton 377 

Tegler Building, Edmonton 377 

Pallister Hotel, Calgary 387 

Royal Hotel Calgary, Old landmark 387 

Eighth Avenue, Calgaiy. 363rd U. S. Infantry on their v^^ay to 

France 401 

Soldiers' Convalescent Home, Edmonton 411 

Armoury, Calgary 411 

Edmonton Club 421 

Country Club, Edmonton 421 







I— I 

I— I 




Alberta as a name in the annals of Canada was not known before 1882, 
In that year the North West Territory was divided into four provisional 
districts for the convenience of settlers and for postal purposes (0. C. May 
8th, 1882.) The districts were Alberta, Assiniboia, Athabasca and 
Saskatchewan. This division continued until 1905 when the provinces of 
Alberta and Saskatchewan were organized to comprise the same territory 
included in the above mentioned districts. The province is named after 
the second daughter of Queen Victoria. 

It is difficult to separate the history of Alberta from the rest of West- 
ern Canada. The object of this work is to trace the course of exploration 
and development in what is now Alberta, making such references to the 
rest of the North- West as are necessary to give setting to the narrative. 
Exploration and settlement began from the East, and most of the stirring 
events of the North West Territory and Rupert's Land were enacted in 
the Red River valley, the lower Saskatchewan valley and the vast network 
of lakes and rivers flowing into Hudson's Bay and the Arctic Ocean. 

The history of the West begins with Radisson's journey to the Missouri 
in 1654, where he heard from the Crees and the Sioux of the sea of the 
north. Agnes Laut points out that he was the first man who realized the 
possibilities of the West as the home for the millions without homes in 
all countries. He was the first from Canada or the eastern seaboard to 
go overland to the sea of the north or Hudson's Bay, and the route he 
travelled from Lake Superior to the Bay may be called for all time, the 
line that divides the East from the West. 

As far as known, the first white man to penetrate Alberta was Bouchier 
de Niverville in 1751. He accompanied Captain Legardeur de Saint Pierre, 
who was sent to the North-West by Governor La Jonquiere. The party left 
Montreal in 1750 and by way of Grand Portage and the line of forts pre- 
viously made by La Verendrye and his sons, reached the Red and Assini- 
boine rivers and established his headquarters at Fort La Reine. From 
this point St. Pierre sent De Niverville to the Saskatchewan to build a 
fort beyond any Verendrye had built. De Niverville and his party crossed 
Lake Winnipeg to the north of the Saskatchewan River, which they 
ascended to Fort Pasquia (where the Pas now stands), also built by 
Verendrye. Thence they ascended the Saskatchewan to the foot of the 
Rocky Mountains. Whether they travelled by the north or south branch 



of the Saskatchewan it is safe to say they reached the Province of Alberta. 
They built a stockaded fort and named it La Jonquiere in honor of the 
Governor of New France. The honor of this expedition, or at least the 
opportunity of undertaking it and exploring the Saskatchewan River, 
rightly belongs to Verendrye and his sons. 

Sieur de La Verendrye is the pioneer pathfinder and explorer of the 
Canadian North-West. His great plans were frustrated by official ignor- 
ance, inertia and jealousy, but his achievements even in their incomplete- 
ness, remain one of the noblest efforts in the history of exploration. If he 
had received proper support from the Government of Quebec, he and his 
intrepid sons undoubtedly would have forced their way across the con- 
tinent to the Pacific half a century before MacKenzie or Lewis and Clark 
completed the task, and would have solved the riddle of the North West 

In the summer of 1731 La Verendrye and his sons, Jean Baptiste, 
Pierre and Francois, and his nephew Jemeraye, set out from Montreal for 
the West. He was given little support except a license to pursue the fur 
trade in these remote regions. He was not a fur trader but was an 
explorer and empire builder. In August he reached Grand Portage and 
sent Jemeraye to build Fort St. Pierre at Rainy Lake. In 1732 he travelled 
from Fort St. Pierre down Rainy River to Lake of the Woods and built 
Fort Charles on the western shore of that lake. From this point he sent 
his eldest son and his nephew down the Winnipeg River in the winter of 
1732-38. They reached the mouth of the Winnipeg River and built Fort 
Maurepas in the spring of 1733. These were the first white men to see 
Lake Winnipeg. Ascending the Red River they came to its junction with 
the Assiniboine, where they built a temporary fort on the site of the City 
of Winnipeg. From here they turned westward up the Assiniboine as 
far as the site of Portage La Prairie, where they built another fort, La 
Reine. This fort was the base of Verendrye's expedition to the Mandans 
of the Missouri in 1738, from which he returned in February 1739. An- 
other expedition to the Mandans was made by his sons in 1742. The object 
of this expedition was to find a path to the Western Sea. By various 
means, the Verendrye brothers reached the foot of the Rocky Mountains, 
but at what point is not definitely known, notwithstanding the speculations 
of Parkman, Granville Stuart, Judge Prudhomme and others. The fear 
of their Indian guides to cross the path of the Snake Indians, reluctantly 
compelled the young explorers to retrace their steps. They arrived at 
Fort La Reine in July 1743. Some authorities contend that the Verendrye 
brothers reached Southern Alberta. This, however, is mere speculation. 

About 1739 Verendrye notes in his journals: "I have discovered in 
these days a river that descends into the west." This was the Saskatche- 
wan River, or as he calls it Paskoyac. Evidently he had been told by the 
Indians. By 1741 he had reached the river and had built Fort Bourbon at 
its mouth on Cedar Lake, and before the great explorer died in 1749 his 


sons Pierre and Francois examined the Saskatchewan to the forks and 
built a fort. These discoveries so briefly related here, close the career of 
the Verendyres in the west. A new Governor was in power in Quebec with 
new favorites and new placemen to reward, and Mons. Legardeur de Saint 
Pierre and De Niverville reaped where La Verendrye had sown. 

St. Pierre has left an interesting memoir of his activities respecting 
this expedition, found in the report of the Canadian Archives 1886. Re- 
ferring to the establishment of Fort La Jonquiere, St. Pierre says : "The 
order which I gave to Chevalier de Niverville to establish a post three 
hundred leagues above that of Paskoyac, was executed on the 29th of May, 
1751. He sent off ten men in two canoes, who ascended the river Paskoya 
as far as the Rocky Mountains, where they made a good fort which I 
named Fort La Jonquiere, and a considerable store of provisions in 
expectation of the arrival of De Niverville, who was to set out a month 
after them, but was prevented by a serious illness." From St, Pierre's 
narrative we presume that De Niverville finally reached the fort. St. 
Pierre set out for La Jonquiere in November, 1751, to pursue his discov- 
eries, which, he says, "was my essential object." He was forced to aban- 
don this mission on account of what he describes as the reason of the 
Assinipoels, "Going to where the French were newly established at the 
Rocky Mountains, and found the ^Yhatchelini there to the number of forty 
to forty-five cabins. For four or five days they were feasting together. 
At the end of that time the -Assinipoels, seeing that they were much more 
numerous than the others, slaughtered them. This unfortunate event 
totally deranged my plans and compelled me most unwillingly to abandon 

It was apparently Saint Pierre's plan to use La Jonquiere as a base for 
his explorations towards the western sea, for he says that when he dis- 
patched De Niverville, he agreed with the Christenaux and Assinipoels 
that they should unite with him at the new post "to push my discoveries." 
Defeated in his purpose to reach La Jonquiere, St, Pierre attempted to 
gather as much information as possible from the Indians, respecting the 
far west. He found an old Indian of the Kinongeouilini, who told him 
that his nation went to trade at an establishment at a great distance, 
directly towards where the sun sets in the month of June. The traders 
brought merchandise, said the Indian, almost similar to that of Canada. 
They were not English and were not so white as the French. The Indian's 
story was confirmed by the report of De Niverville of what he had learned 
"at the settlement he had made near the Rocky Mountains," According 
to St. Pierre's memoir, "De Niverville met a party of Indians who were 
going to war, met with a nation loaded with beaver who were going by, 
a river which issues from the Rocky Mountains to trade with the French, 
who had their first establishment on an Island at a small distance from 

1 Probably Wood Crees. 

2 Assiniboines. 



the land, where there is a large storehouse. That when they arrived there 
they made signals and people came to them to trade for their beavers, 
in exchange- for which they gave them knives, a few lances, but no fire- 
arms. That they sell them also horses and saddles which shelter them 
from arrows when they go to war. These Indians positively asserted that 
the traders were not English. The establishment is by compass west by 
west which cannot possibly belong to them." 

All this is interesting and instructive to show that even in those early 
days, the Indians of the great plains had established commerce with the 
Pacific Coast, and to show what glory and honor was lost to the Govern- 
ment of New France, for sending a man like St. Pierre who was unable to 
win the sympathy and cooperation of the Indians, instead of a man like 
Verendrye who always succeeded in enlisting the support of the natives 
in all his enterprises. But in what age have government favorites ever 
accomplished much for the honor of the nation? 

In 1753 St. Pierre left the West in disgust attributing his failure to 
the evil machinations of the English. It is not definitely known where 
La Jonquiere was situated. L. R. Masson, who had given much study to 
the subject, came to the conclusion that the fort stood on the site of the 
R. N. W. M. P. barracks at Calgary. Captain Brisbois, who founded the 
Calgary Barracks, told Benjamin Suite a few years ago, that he had found 
traces of a fort which he believed to be the old Fort Jonquiere, This view 
is supported by Dr. Eliot Coues, while James White, geographer of the 
Dominion, and J. B. Tyrrell of the Geological Survey of Canada are 
inclined to the view that De Niverville ascended the north Saskatchewan 
and therefore built his fort some distance below the site of the City of 
Edmonton. St. Pierre's reference to the English indicates that the rivalry 
that existed between the French and English in the forests of Canada and 
New England, had been transferred to the plains of the North-West. 

It is not the intention of this work to give an account of the coming 
of the English traders to Hudson's Bay and the origin of the Hudson's 
Bay Company in 1670. Suffice it to say that the leaders of New France 
looked upon the Hudson's Bay Adventurers in the North with the same 
hostility as they regarded the English invasion of the Ohio valley and the 
territory beyond the Alleghanies in the South. They quickly perceived 
with Foch-like sagacity the meaning of two such gigantic flanking move- 

For a number of years the Hudson's Bay Company confined their 
activities to the territory bordering on the Bay, but the increased rivalry 
of the two races in North America, the desire to expand the fur trade, 
and the vision of the North West Passage, roused the Company to new 
energy and special expeditions were dispatched to realise one or all of 
those ends. Most important of these for the purpose of this book, was 
conducted by Anthony Hendry in 1754. Hendry is reputed to be the first 
Englishman to see the Saskatchewan River and to visit Alberta. He left 


York Factory on June 26th, 1750 with a large fleet of canoes and 400 
men. He reached the Saskatchewan July 21st, via Hayes River and Moose 
Lake and paddled up the stream twenty-two miles, where he came to the 
fort built previously by the French trader De La Corne. He left the 
Saskatchewan River and crossed country to the Carrot River, which he 
ascended for over fifty miles. On July 27th he left his canoes and 
journeyed overland, crossing the South Saskatchewan near Clark's Cross- 
ing. Continuing westward, he reached the North Saskatchewan some- 
where, says Burpee, between Eagle Hill Creek and The Elbow. From here 
he turned southwest and probably about the 1st of October entered 
Alberta. From the evidence of his direction and distance, it is supposed 
that Hendry crossed the Red Deer River on October 11th, somewhere 
between the Knee Hills Creek and the Three Hills Creek. Three days 
after crossing this river, he entered a camp of the Blackfeet comprising 
over three hundred lodges. After spending three days with the Indians, 
he continued southwest, crossing, it is supposed, the Knee Hills Creek. 
Turning northwest he travelled parallel to the Calgary and Edmonton 
Trail, until he reached some point between the present towns of Olds and 
Bowden. This was the farthest point west reached by November 21st. He 
spent the winter in the Blackfoot country, and in the spring went down 
the Red River to the Saskatchewan and thence to Hudson's Bay. 

Hendry's object was to intercept the Indian trade with the French 
and induce the Blackfeet and the Western Tribes to go down to Hudson's 
Bay. His representations made little impression on the great Chief of 
the Blackfeet, who told Hendry that his young men were not used to 
canoes and could not live without buffalo flesh. His people, he said, did 
not want for anything. Why, therefore, should they undertake an arduous 
journey through an unknown country and live on fish or be subject to the 
terrors of starvation? Altogether he seems to have had the best of the 
argument with Hendry. Hendry expresses a great admiration for the 
fine horses and expert horsemanship of the Blackfeet warriors, but when 
he reached York Factory and told the Hudson's Bay Company officials he 
had seen Indians on horseback, he was ridiculed as a romancer and story- 
teller. It was not the last time that officials objected to being told new 
things by their subordinates. 

Very little is heard of the fur trade or exploration in the years immedi- 
ately prior to, or after the conquest of Canada. After the conquest the 
French rivals of the Hudson's Bay Company passed away, but their places 
were taken by others as daring and resourceful. These were the indepen- 
ent traders from Montreal and Quebec, who developed the same faculty of 
winning the sympathy and cooperation of the Indians, that distinguished 
the best French explorers and traders. Moreover they enlisted the sup- 
port of the numerous Couriers du Bois, who were left without leadership 
or occupation at the withdrawal of the French traders. 

It is not definitely known who were the first Montreal traders to reach 


the Saskatchewan, though the honor seems to lie with Thomas Curry and 
James Finlay. From the Journal of Matthew Cocking, we learn that James 
Finlay from Montreal resided at an old trading post on the Saskatchewan 
in 1767, Roderick Mackenzie says that Finlay was the first to follow Mr. 
Curry, which would indicate that Curry was the first trader of the Sas- 
katchewan after the conquest. These traders are invariably referred to 
by the Hudson's Bay Company men as "peddlers." They were soon 
followed by Thomas Frobisher, Joseph Frobisher, Alexander Henry, Ben- 
jamin Frobisher, Feter Pond, Peter Pangman and others. They were 
very successful and enterprising "peddlers," so much so that the Hudson's 
Bay Company found it necessary to send men to the interior to cover their 
movements. Matthew Cocking was sent in 1772 and in 1774, Samuel 
Hearne, the discoverer of the Coppermine River was sent to build Fort 
Cumberland beside the fort of the Frobishers, built in 1772. From this 
period until the union of the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay 
Company in 1821, the Hudson's Bay Company, to quote the words of 
Alexander Mackenzie, "followed the Canadians to their difi'erent establish- 
ments, while on the contrary there is not a solitary instance that the 
Canadians have followed them." As a result of this competition, we gen- 
erally find two trading posts at the same point, the Hudson's Bay house 
and the North West house. 

From the standpoint of this work our interest in the men of the group 
mentioned above, centres in Peter Pond. He came to the North-West in 
1768. Alexander Henry, the older, who met him on the Saskatchewan in 
1775, refers to him as "the trader of celebrity in the North-West." He 
was the first man to establish a permanent trading post in Alberta. The 
great fur resources of the Athabasca country attracted the Frobishers in 
1775 as far as Isle a la Crosse, where they met the Chipewyan Indians 
and intercepted them on their way to Fort Churchill. The success of 
these gentlemen induced the independent traders in the country to pool 
their stock of goods and to send them into the Athabasca region under 
Peter Pond in the autumn of 1778. Pond loaded his goods in four canoes 
at Cumberland House, and following the path of the Frobishers, reached 
Isle a la Crosse, then the farthest point in that region reached by white 
man. He followed the course used by the Indians for generations before 
him, and by many of the most famous explorers of the north who followed 
him — Mackenzie, Harmon, Back, Franklin. After crossing Methy Port- 
age he launched his canoes in the Clearwater River, the first white man 
to cast a paddle in North Western America in a river flowing westward. 
He continued his course to the Athabasca River past where Fort McMurray 
now stands, and descended the Athabasca to the Lake of the same name, — 
the first white man to stand on its shores. He built a fort about thirty 
miles above the mouth of the Athabasca River. The spot is marked on the 
maps of Alberta by the name "The Old Pond Fort" or "The Old Establish- 
ment." This fort may be called the first capital of the Province of Alberta, 


and continued so until 1788. Pond planted a garden and was very success- 
ful in growing large quantities of vegetables for his various crews. The 
venture was very successful. In the first year Pond secured as many furs 
as his canoes could carry, and was obliged to store such as he could not 
embark until the following season. During his residence in Alberta with 
the old fort as his headquarters, he explored many parts of this immense 
region from the Saskatchewan to Lake Athabasca and sent Cuthbert Grant 
and Laurent Leroux to build trading posts on Great Slave Lake in 1786. 

Pond was a great traveller and a minute enquirer. From his extensive 
knowledge of the country he made a map purporting to show the physical 
features of the country between Hudson's Bay and the Pacific Ocean. He 
was a better trader, however, than a geographer. He knew the longitude 
of the Bay and of the Pacific Coast. He made up his distances from the 
tales of Indians and voyageurs who measured a league in the time it took 
to smoke a pipe. These unconscious jokers apparently smoked faster than 
they walked, and thus got too many leagues from Hudson's Bay to Lake 
Athabasca. Acting on such information Pond placed the Lake so far 
west of Hudson's Bay that he left no room for the wide stretch of Rocky 
Mountains and made the unknown territory to the west much less than 
it really was. 

The initial success of Pond on behalf of his associates was interrupted 
by the terrible outbreak of smallpox in 1781. Mackenzie, in his History 
of the Fur Trade, refers to it in melancholy terms. The natives died by 
thousands. Reduced in numbers and afraid of coming in contact with the 
traders, they avoided the trading posts and the fur trade fell to almost 
nothing. Added to this was a widespread hostility which is said to have 
been engendered into the minds of some of the natives by the indiscreet 
use of liquor on the part of some of the traders. As an example the 
following instance is quoted by Mackenzie: Most of the traders who 
passed the winter of 1780 on the banks of the Saskatchewan, camped at 
Eagle Hills. Here they met a large number of Indians, who became so 
insistent and insolent in their demands for liquor, that one of the traders, 
Cole, mixed it with laudanum with fatal results to some of the redskins. 
The Indians took quick and terrible revenge and Mackenzie states that 
they had formed a resolution to exterminate the traders when the scourge 
of smallpox overtook them. 

Other causes were at work besides liquor and the smallpox, to hinder 
the development of the fur trade. Unfair competition and the want of 
any organization policy among the traders, led to serious consequences and 
even to bloodshed and murder. In 1780 Fond was joined by a trader 
named Wadin, both representing their associates at Grand Portage. Pond, 
ambitious, unbalanced and sullen, soon quarrelled with Wadin. Towards 
the end of the year 1780 Fond and his clerk Le Sieur were dining with 
Wadin. During the course of the evening a dispute arose, and Wadin 
was fatally shot, it is believed, by the hand of Pond. 


The wise heads at Montreal were not slow to realise the situation in 
Ihe Indian Territories. Division and internal strife in the face of Indian 
hostility and the steady encroachment of the Hudson's Bay Company 
were folly. The feasible solution was the formation of a strong company 
embracing all private interests engaged in the western fur trade. Hence 
arose the North West Company. From this date until the union of the 
Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company in 1821, the history 
of Alberta and the North-West is the history of the competition between 
the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company for the control 
of the fur trade. At times the conflict assumed the proportions of civil 
war and carried the rival traders to establish posts from the mouth of the 
Mackenzie River to the mouth of the Columbia River. The story of the 
conflict will be told in the following chapter. After the union of the two 
companies in 1821 the struggle changed into a struggle between the 
Hudson's Bay Company and the people, until the purchase of the whole 
territory by the Canadian Government in 1870. 

In October 1784, the North West Company, through its directors, Ben- 
jamin and Joseph Frobisher and Peter Pond, petitioned Governor Haldi- 
mand for a monopoly of the fur trade of the North-West for ten years, — 
pointing out that the property of the company in the country exclusive 
of houses and stores was over 25,000 pounds. In return they were willing 
to undertake the exploration of the country at their own expense, between 
latitudes 55 degrees and 65 degrees: all that country west of Hudson's 
Bay to the Pacific Ocean ; to make surveys and maps for the information 
of the Government of Quebec and the home government. They urged 
the necessity of preventing the Russians and Americans on the Pacific 
Coast and the Americans in the interior, from gaining control over these 
new regions to the detriment of British interests. Urged by these reasons 
the company a few months before, sent Edward Umfreville and Vincent 
St. Germain to discover and explore a new route from Lake Superior to 
Lake Winnipeg, because Grand Portage was found to be in American 
territory, by the treaty of 1783. This route was by the Kamanistiqua 
River, and Fort Wilham, named after William McGillivray the senior 
partner of the North West Company, became what it has ever since re- 
mained, the port of entry of the Great North West. The monopoly was 
not granted to the Nor'westers but they succeeded in building up such a 
strong and influential company that they virtually made it impossible for 
any competitor to engage in the western fur trade except the Hudson's 
Bay Company. 

A few of the merchants of Montreal, who were not included as part- 
ners in the North West Company, did not accept defeat without a struggle. 
A small but vigorous company was formed by Messrs. Alexander Norman 
Macleod, John Gregory, Alexander Mackenzie, John Finlay and Peter 
Pangman. The new company had first included our old friend Peter Pond, 
who was dissatisfied with the organization of the North West Company, 





but he soon rejoined his old associates. The new company followed the 
tactics of the Hudson's Bay Company and as far as possible built forts 
wherever it found those of the Nor'westers or Hudson's Bay Company. 

It is in the activities of the new company that the next great explorer 
identified with Alberta, appears. This is Alexander Mackenzie. Born in 
Stornoway in 1763 he came to Canada in 1779. He joined the firm of 
Macleod and Gregory of Montreal also engaged in the western fur trade. 
After spending five years with the firm, in Montreal, young Mackenzie was 
sent to Detroit. Becoming a partner of the new company he left Detroit 
in 1785 to take charge of the Churchill district, taking with him his cousin 
Roderick Mackenzie, whose reminiscences throw considerable light upon 
the events in this region at that time. In the Athabasca district to the 
west, Peter Pond looked after the new company's interests while a Mr. 
Ross represented the Nor'westers. Pond, true to his sullen and variable 
nature, quarrelled with Ross and finally in a scuffle between the parties, 
Ross was fatally shot. This tragedy led to the amalgamation of the two 
companies in 1787, the partners of the new company being absorbed in 
the North West Company. Mackenzie was now given charge of the 
Athabasca district. Following the usual route by the Methy Portage, the 
Clearwater River, he reached Pond's Old Establishment in the autumn of 
1788. As we have seen, this was the point where the outfits for the 
several posts in the Athabasca district were made up, and from which 
they were dispatched from Lake Athabasca, Peace River and Great Slave 
Lake since Pond entered the country ten years before. Here Mackenzie 
settled for the winter and matured his plans for his dash down the great 
river that bears his name. He sent his cousin Roderick down the river 
to erect a new post on the shores of Lake Athabasca. This fort was called 
Fort Chipewyan and was built a short distance east of the mouth of the 
Athabasca River. In after years the Fort was moved to the north side of 
the lake, its present situation. For many years in the history of Alberta, 
old Fort Chipewyan may be regarded as the capital and the most important 
centre of the Province. Roderick Mackenzie who had a Scotchman's taste 
for learning and culture established here the first library, and many of the 
books are still in existence at the post, so that for a number of years 
Chipewyan was known as "The Athens of the North." 

Let us now turn to the great exploits of Mackenzie. Though the scenes 
of his achievements lie outside the boundaries of the Province, yet they 
comprise the vast hinterland of Alberta, the development of which, since 
Mackenzie's triumph to the present and for the future, is virtually iden- 
tified with the growth and expansion of this Province. Edmonton, the 
capital, is the base of supply for the great northland which comprises 
nearly one quarter of the area of the Dominion of Canada. In his preface 
to his History of the Fur Trade, Mackenzie tells us he was of an inquisi- 
tive mind and enterprising spirit; that he possessed a constitution and 
frame of body equal to the most arduous undertakings. From the time he 


entered the North-West he says he contemplated the practicability of 
penetrating across the continent of America and was confident of his 
ability to accomplish his great task. Rarely has a man's estimate of him- 
self been so justified by success as Mackenzie's estimate of his capabilities. 
His voyages down the river that bears his name solved the question of the 
North-West Passage and his trip overland to the Pacific won the Province 
of British Columbia to the British Empire. 

Though it was usual for the wintering partners of the North West 
Company to go down to Fort William in the spring with the fur brigades 
to meet the Montreal partners, Mackenzie resolved after establishing his 
post at Chipewyan during the winter of 1788-89, to remain in the Interior 
and pursue his explorations. Accordingly he sent out Roderick, his 
cousin, with the fur that Spring. He prepared for his voyage to the 
Arctic Ocean. Knowing the difficulties of such an undertaking Mackenzie 
organized a crew of picked men. For a guide he secured an Indian called 
English Chief who had often made the journey from Lake Athabasca to 
Hudson's Bay to trade with the English, and thus gained his name. With 
his two wives and other Indians who acted as hunters and interpreters, the 
Chief occupied one canoe. Mackenzie and four French Canadians, two 
of them accompanied by their wives, led the way in his own canoe. These 
four Canadians deserve to have their names recorded. They were Francois 
Barrieau, Charles Ducette, Joseph Landry and Pierre De Lorme. He 
also had a young German named John Steinbruck. Laurent Leroux, who 
had established a post at the Great Slave Lake in 1786, accompanied the 
expedition to his own post situated on the northern arm of Slave Lake 
and now known as Fort Providence. 

Mackenzie has left a detailed account of his trip. He modestly begins 
his Journal thus: — "Journal of a Voyage, etc., June, 1789, Wednesday, 3. 

We embarked at nine in the morning, at Fort Chipewyan in a 

canoe made of birch bark." Passing the mouth of the Peace River he 
entered the Slave River and reached Great Slave Lake on June 9th. In 
his Journal he notices Portage des Noyes where five men were drowned 
in 1786 on their way to Slave Lake under Cuthbert Grant and Laurent 
Leroux. After spending some time at Leroux' post where he met Yellow 
Knife Indians, he set out again. He found some difficulty in locating the 
outlet of the lake by the great river, but finally succeeded on July 1st. In 
five days he reached the mouth of the Great Bear River, On the way down 
he met the Slave and Dogrib Indians who told weird tales of horned 
monsters and evil spirits to be encountered before the sea was reached. 
These tales greatly alarmed the Indians of his party and Mackenzie had 
difficulty in urging them on, though their fears increased as they 
approached the land of the Eskimaux. As they continued down the river 
they met new tribes, the Hare Indians and the Quarrellers. From the 
latter he learned that he was near the sea. On Sunday, July 11th, Macken- 
zie sat up all night to observe the sun. At half past twelve he called one 


of his men to view a spectacle he had never seen. On seeing- the sun the 
man called the rest of the crews, thinking it was time to embark, but he 
was informed by Mackenzie that the sun had not sunk behind the horizon, 
and that they were now in the land of the Midnight Sun. On the evening 
of the 12th, Mackenzie and English Chief went to the top of an Island, 
from which they discovered that solid ice extended from the southwest to 
the eastward. No sooner had the party retired to rest that night, than 
they were compelled to arise and remove the baggage on account of the 
rising water. The following morning they caught a fish in their nets, 
which English Chief recognized as being of a kind that abounds in Hud- 
son's Bay. On the 14th they saw whales and tried to kill one. On the 
16th Mackenzie began his return and on August 22nd paddled into Great 
Slave Lake. Here he met Leroux. After spending a few days with Leroux 
he proceeded up the Slave River, reaching Lake Athabasca and Fort Chipe- 
wyan, his starting place, on September 12th. He ends his Journal as 
modestly as he began: "Thus we concluded this voyage, which had oc- 
cupied the considerable space of 102 days." 

Mackenzie spent the winter of 1789-90 at Fort Chipewyan and went 
out in the spring with the fur brigades to Grand Portage. The North 
West Company partners showed little enthusiasm over his great discovery. 
"My expedition was hardly spoken of," he says in one of his letters to 
Roderick Mackenzie, written from Grand Portage. But the indifference 
of his fellow partners did not dampen his enthusiasm for further explora- 
tion. On his way down from the Athabasca country, he met Philip Turner, 
a surveyor, at Cumberland House. He learned that Turner was being sent 
by the Hudson's Bay Company on an expedition of discovery and was to 
winter in the Athabasca country. He knew the Hudson's Bay Company, 
which had done no exploration since Hearn's discovery of the Copper Mine 
twenty years before, was being urged by the British Government to pursue 
exploration and to ascertain all the knowledge possible even to the Pacific 
Ocean. At Grand Portage he learned of the encroachment of the Amer- 
icans on the west of the Great Lakes and of the Russians on the Pacific 
Coast from Alaska. On his return to Chipewyan in the fall of 1790, he 
adopted vigorous measures to pursue the fur trade and increase the out- 
put. Old Simon McTavish had growled about the output, and no doubt 
thought Mackenzie was spending too much of the Company's time in 
visionary explorations. At the same time Mackenzie instructed his trad- 
ers to "make all possible enquiry regarding the country of the Beaver 
Indians and more particularly regarding the great river which is reported 
to run parallel with and falls into the sea to the westward of the river in 
which I voyaged, and commit such to paper." (Letter to Roderick Mac- 
kenzie, March 2nd, 1791). 

Meanwhile he kept his eye on Philip Turner, who was then completing 
his survey of Lake Athabasca and the Slave River. On his way down to 
Grand Portgage in 1791 he met Turner and Ross at Lake La Loche and 


decided that the party was ill prepared to undertake difficult exploration 
work. During his discovery of the Mackenzie River, the great explorer 
found the want of astronomical training and instruments. So in the 
winter of 1791-92 we find him in the Old Country learning astronomy. In 
August 1792 he was back at Grand Portage for the annual meeting of 
the Nor'Westers. At this meeting the partnership was continued for a 
further period of seven years, and Mackenzie was sent back to the Atha- 
basca district. In October we find him at Fort Chipewyan again, deter- 
mined on his second great exploration. 

Before we follow Mackenzie to the Pacific, let us advert to the con- 
ditions in the Athabasca Region since Pond entered in 1778. As we have 
noticed, Pond's Fort was for a time the centre of commercial enterprise 
in Alberta and the north, until the establishment of Fort Chipewyan in 
1788. During the interval of ten years much local exploration had been 
done by the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company. Cuth- 
bert Grant and Laurent Leroux had established a post on the north arm 
of Great Slave Lake to trade with the Red Knives and the Slave Indians. 
This was a difficult post from which to get out the fur in time to proceed 
with the Athabasca Brigade to Grand Portage. It was afterwards 
removed to the south side of the Lake near the site of the present Fort 
Resolution. In 1788 Mackenzie sent Boyer up the Peace River to build 
a fort at the mouth of the Boyer River, a little below the site of the pres- 
ent Fort Vermilion. Vandrieul accompanied Boyer and surveyed the 
river up to this point. Another fort further up the river was in charge 
of John Finlay, who subsequently explored the Finlay River. This was 
the most westerly point reached by the traders of the east at the time 
Mackenzie set out for the Pacific Ocean. 

Up to the time of the opening of Pond's Fort and Fort Chipewyan, the 
Indians usually went down to Hudson's Bay to trade, but by the establish- 
ment of posts in the Athabasca and Peace River regions, with Fort Chipe- 
wyan as a centre, the trade of the country passed into the hands of the 
Nor'Westers. Attempts were made on different occasions to find a better 
canoe route into the Athabasca country so as to avoid the back-breaking 
portage La Loche, which was HVo miles long. Roderick Mackenzie made 
two exploratory trips for this purpose, but without success. This portage 
long remained a terror to the traders of the Athabasca country. Boats 
were required to be dragged back and forth across 11 miles of sand and 
muskeg, over a hill 800 feet high. Subsequently two sets of boats were 
kept, one on each side of the portage, which, however, did not obviate 
the transport of goods and furs by whatever means possible, mostly the 
backs of the canoe men and voyageurs. 

Of his expedition to the Pacific Ocean, Mackenzie has left us a very 
detailed account, which indicates how much greater the task was than 
his Arctic Expedition. With the prudence of the practical man he made 
careful preparations and picked a faithful crew. Two of his men were our 


old friends Joseph Landry and Charles Ducette. The others were Bap- 
tiste Bison, Francis Courtois, Jacques Beauchamp, Francis Bealieu with 
two Indians, one of whom Mackenzie says, turned out so lazy that he was 
ever afterwards known as "The Crab." On October 10th he left Fort 
Chipewyan and proceeded up the Peace River to the forks of the Peace 
v/ith the Smoky, a few miles above where the town of Peace River now 
stands. His lieutenant was Alexander McKay, one of the shrewdest and 
most resourceful men in the service of the North West Company. Men 
had been sent ahead to build a Fort at this point and here Mackenzie 
wintered and traded with the Indians. On December 29th the camp was 
struck by a Chinook wind, which melted all the snow. Here the explorer 
spent a profitable winter trading with the Indians. Like Verendrye, he 
was one of those masterful men that impressed the Indians, knowing as 
if by instinct when to humour them and when to be firm. His Journal 
describing life at the Post with the Indians in 1792-93 is very instructive 
and must be read to be appreciated. One day the Indians brought him a 
young man who had nearly lost his thumb by the bursting of a gun. The 
wound was badly infected and threatened the life of the young man. 
Mackenzie risked his surgical reputation and by a poultice of bark, 
stripped from the roots of the spruce fir and by a salve made of Canadian 
Balsam, wax and tallow dropped from a burning candle into water, per- 
fectly healed the wound in a few weeks. 

On May 8th he dispatched six canoes loaded with furs to Fort Chipe- 
wyan and the next day started up the Peace River on his untracked 
journey to the Pacific Ocean. As he ascended he met several Indians but 
none of them knew anything of the country beyond the mountains. He 
made careful notice of the country on each side, and the varieties of the 
animals. In one place he says the country was so crowded with animals 
as to have the appearance of a stall yard. These statements of the wealth 
of animal life in the Peace River Valley, are confirmed by Harmon fifteen 
years later. The Rocky Mountains appeared on the 17th. When he 
arrived at Hudson's Hope on the 21st, his men were dismayed and wanted 
to turn back but the leader was of that heroic mould that what he dared 
to dream, he dared to do, so instead of turning back they set to work to 
cut a road over the mountains to where the river was smooth again. By 
the 26th they completed the portage and embarked. He reached the 
forks of the Finlay and the Parsnip on the 31st and, acting on the advice 
of the old Indian, he turned up the Parsnip and reached Macleod Lake on 
June 12th, which he regarded as the source of the Peace River or the 
Unjigah River. This latter name has been used to describe the Peace as 
late as 1888 in a railway charter. He was now close to the height of land 
between the Arctic and the Pacific Ocean and he must have felt proud 
that he had travelled this waterway through its entire course to the Arctic 

We shall not trace his course further, beyond the observation that he 


continued meeting greater difficulties than any yet encountered and finally 
reached the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Bellacoola River July 20th, 
1793, the first white man to cross the continent of British North America. 
Before he returned he left a brief memorial of his exploit painted on the 
rocks. He used a mixture of vermilion and grease and wrote these words : 
"Alexander Mackenzie from Canada by land 22nd July, 1793." In less 
than one month he was back at his own fort at the mouth of the Smoky 
River, arriving there at 4 p. m., August 20th, 1793. 

The discoveries of Mackenzie marked a turning point in the history of 
the North-West, in fact of Canada. For the first time man began to 
know its extent and configuration. All the great rivers except the Eraser 
and the Columbia had been explored. The Dominion of Canada, as we 
know it today, was circumscribed and preempted for the British Empire. 
From this period Canadians settled down to a minute exploration of the 
country and to a systematic development of its vast resources. David 
Thompson, the next great man identified with the early history of the 
North-West, began the work that in our generation has been so splendidly 
continued by men of the Geological Survey of Canada — Macoun, Tyrell, 
Selwyn, Dawson, Dowling and McConnell. 

We must now divert our attention from the Peace and Athabasca to 
the Saskatchewan. So far we have traced no one up the North Saskatche- 
wan beyond the expeditions of Alexander Henry, Thomas Curry and John 
Finlay. None of these ever reached Alberta, but by the end of the century 
the North Saskatchewan was thoroughly explored and numerous forts 
estabfished from Fort Vermilion near the inter-provincial boundary be- 
tween Alberta and Saskatchewan, to Rocky Mountain House. Most of our 
information of this period is derived from the Journals of David Thomp- 
son and Alexander Henry, the Younger. In his book ''Search for the West- 
ern Sea," Lawrence J. Burpee says: "Three names must ever stand first 
in the annals of exploration of Western Canada, — La Verendrye, Mac- 
kenzie and Thompson." They are indeed a distinguished trio, of whom 
any nation might be proud and whose travels and achievements are as 
great as those of the mythical characters of Homer. Of the three, pos- 
sibly Thompson is the least known to those who study Canadian history 
in our schools and colleges. The students and people of Canada are 
therefore .much indebted to Mr. J. B. Tyrell for his excellent summary of 
Thompson's Journals, published by the Champlain Society. The original 
Journals are preserved in the Crown Lands Department at Toronto, 
and comprise forty-five volumes of foolscap in Thompson's own hand- 
writing. They cover his life from 1784 to 1850. It is pathetic to find 
that this great man was reduced to penury and even want in his old age. 
Moreover, it is reprehensible that such is the way a nation often rewards 
its great benefactors. 

David Thompson was born in London, April 30th, 1770, of Welsh 
parentage. He was educated at the Grey Coat School, Westminster, within 


five minutes' walk of Westminster Abbey, where many men of inferior 
ability and achievements are immortalised. He spent several years at 
this school, 1777-1784, and on May 20th of the latter year, the Governors 
of the school bound young Thompson over to the Hudson's Bay Company 
and paid the Gentlemen Adventurers five pounds for taking off their 
hands this fourteen year old lad, who was to become the greatest geog- 
rapher of North America. In due time Thompson landed at Fort Church- 
ill. Next year he tramped fifty miles along the shores of the Hudson's 
Bay to York Factory, the first of many journeys he was destined to make. 
On July 21st, 1786, he left York Factory fitted out with a trunk, handker- 
chiefs, shoes, shirts, a gun, powder, tin pot or cup, in company with 
forty-six other ''Englishmen", in charge of Robert Longmore, to estab- 
lish posts on the Saskatchewan River. At this time the most westerly 
Hudson's Bay post on this river was Hudson's House on the north branch. 
This post was likely built by John Tomson and Philip Turner in 1776. It 
was situated on Section 32, Township 46, R. 3, W. 3rd Meridian, a short 
distance below the site of Fort Carlton. The party ascended the Sas- 
katchewan to a point forty-two miles above Battleford and built Man- 
chester House. Forty miles farther up the river was the North-West 
post under Edward Umfreville which was at that time the most westerly 
point reached on the North Saskatchewan by a white man and continued 
so until Peter Pangman, for the North West Company, ascended to Rocky 
Mountain House three years later. 

We have noticed that Anthony Hendry thirty years before visited the 
Blackfeet in Southern Alberta to induce them to go down to the Bay. 
Nothing resulted from Hendry's visit as we have seen. The next step 
therefore, was to induce the Blackfeet tribes to come to the inland posts 
on the North Saskatchewan. Accordingly Thompson, though but a lad of 
seventeen years, was sent with six others to the Blackfeet country. He 
left Manchester House in the autumn of 1786 and traveled southwest, 
reaching the Bow River in the vicinity of Calgary, and spent the winter 
with the Peigans, lodging a great part of the time in the tent of Chief 
Saukamappee. Returning to Manchester House in the spring of 1787 he 
spent the summer on the Saskatchewan and wintered 1787-88 at Cumber- 
land House. Here he began his survey work, which, Tyrell says, was to 
make him the greatest practical land geographer that the world has pro- 
duced. The following winter (1789-90) he was again at Cumberland 
House in company with Philip Turner, the official surveyor of the Hudson's 
Bay Company. No doubt he received many lessons from Turner, but the 
pupil far outstripped the master. 

For the next seven years Thompson was engaged in the country be- 
tween Cumberland House and York Factory, though it seems to have been 
the policy of the directors in London that Thompson should be sent inland 
to the Athabasca country to pursue his explorations and keep watch over 
the Nor'Westers. The officials of the Bay, however, were tardy in carry- 


ing out the policy of the London office, so that it was not until 1796 that 
Thompson was able to reach Lake Athabasca by Reindeer and Wollaston 
Lakes and down Black River. This was his last expedition for the Hud- 
son's Bay Company. On May 23rd, 1797, he left the Company and joined 
the Nor'Westers. He now began his real work of exploration and survey. 
His new masters seem to have given him the greatest liberty. No doubt 
the brilliant exploits of Alexander Mackenzie and the consequent prestige 
to the North West Company caused a change in the policy of the Company 
since the days when old Simon McTavish growled about Mackenzie's 
visions and explorations. The work assigned to him at the big meeting at 
Grand Portage in the summer of 1797 included : 

(a) Determination of the position of the 49th Parallel of north 

(b) A visit to the Mandan villages on the Missouri River. 

(c) Search for fossils of large animals. 

(d) Determination of the position of the trading posts of the North 
West Company. 

We have not the space to devote to all these undertakings and shall 
confine the narrative to Thompson's travels in Alberta. 

After making the trip to the Mandan villages and returning to Grand 
Portage by the south shore of Lake Superior, he was dispatched on July 
4th, 1798, to Lac La Biche and built a house on the east end of the lake, 
latitude 54 degrees, 46 minutes, 32 seconds north. Here he spent the 
winter. Towards the end of March, 1799, he proceeded overland to Fort 
Augustus, then situated a mile and a half above the mouth of the Sturgeon 
River, within the present settlement of Fort Saskatchewan, and built in 
1794, by Angus Shaw of the North West Company, to attract the trade 
of the Blackfeet. Towards the end of this year Peter Fidler of the Hud- 
son's Bay Company reached Lac La Biche and built Greenwich House 
beside the one built by Thompson. 

From Fort Augustus, Thompson set out on April 19th for the Pembina 
River and reached it where the fifth meridian crosses it between town- 
ships 60 and 61, on the 21st. He descended the Pembina by canoe built 
by one of his men, Durand, who had preceded him to the Pembina, and 
reached the Athabasca on the 25th. He explored Lesser Slave Lake and 
continued down the Athabasca to the mouth of the Clearwater where Fort 
McMurray now stands. He left this point May 10th and surveyed the 
Clearwater River, the Methy Portage and the entire route to Isle a la 
Crosse. On June 10th he married Charlotte. Small, the half-breed daugh- 
ter of Patrick Small, in charge of the North West Company post at Isle 
a la Crosse. She was fourteen and he was twenty-nine years old. He then 
set out for Grand Portage where he received a new stock of drawing 
paper for his maps. With John Macdonald of Garth, he returned to Fort 
George on the North Saskatchewan, a post of the North West Company, 


situated in Section 19, Township 56, Range 5, W. 4th, built by Angus 
Shaw in 1792 and close to Buckingham House, the post of the Hudson's 
Bay Company, built later. These were the first posts built in the province 
of Alberta on the North Saskatchewan River. 



For the next few years Thompson's work was confined to the Province 
of Alberta, but before we follow him let us consider what had been done 
by those who preceded him. As we have seen, Peter Pangman of the 
North West Company ascended the North Saskatchewan as far as the site 
of Rocky Mountain House in 1789. Angus Shaw built Fort George 
in 1792 and Fort Augustus in 1794. In 1795 George Sutherland of the 
Hudson's Bay Company built Fort Edmonton, probably naming it after 
Edmonton, near London, England, the birthplace of John Prudens, his 
clerk. Buckingham House also had been built in the neighborhood of 
Fort George but the date is uncertain, probably 1793. In 1798 the North 
West Company sent James Hughes to build a fort close to Fort Edmonton, 
which was called New Fort Augustus, on the site of the present city of 
Edmonton. It was in charge of Hughes and Macdonald of Garth. Mac- 
donald tells us in his autobiographical notes that there was another fort 
at Edmonton, "a new concern which assumed a powerful shape in the 
name of the XY Co., at the head of which was the late John Ogilvie in 
Montreal and at this establishment a Mr. King, an old south trader in his 
prime and pride as the first among bullies." The new concern, as Mac- 
donald calls it, was composed of the dissatisfied partners of the North 
West Company, who had retired and were organized into a company in 
1795 by the firm of Messrs. Forsyth, Richardson and Company of Mon- 
treal. The name by which the company was designated was given 
to it on account of the symbols XY used to mark the bales of fur and to 
distinguish them from those of the North West Company, usually marked 
NW. It was not really the legal name of the company. The XY 
Company during its existence includedd some of the most enterprising 
men that ever engaged in the fur trade, including Sir Alexander Mac- 
kenzie who, as we have seen, was never on cordial relations with old 
Simon McTavish and we may take John Macdonald's estimate of them as 
"A new concern which assumed powerful shape" as a measure of the race 
they gave the old North West Company. The XY Company also had a 
post at Fort George. The most westerly post on the North Saskatchewan 
was Rocky Mountain House built about a mile above the confluence of 
the Clearwater and the Saskatchewan in 1799 by Macdonald of Garth. 

Up to this time there had been but one fort built on the South Sas- 
katchewan, if we except Fort La Jonquiere of De Niverville in 1751. This 



was South Branch House near Gardepui's Crossing. It is not known 
exactly when it was established but Thompson visited it October 18th, 
1793, and Peter Fidler says that the Hudson's Bay Company post was 
plundered June 24th, 1794, though the North West Company house close 
by escaped. After this the fort was abandoned until 1804 when a new 
post was established six miles farther up the river. 

We are now in a position to follow Thompson in his various expedi- 
tions throughout the province. We left him at Fort George. In the 
spring of 1800 he set out on horseback to Fort Augustus and thence to 
Rocky Mountain House, taking the well known Blackfoot trail from Fort 
Augustus. On May 5th he embarked at Rocky Mountain House and made 
a survey of the Saskatchewan River to The Elbow. On his way down he 
found the Hudson's Bay Company men encamped at Buck Lake Creek, 
eight miles below Goose Encampment. He passed White Mud House at 
the mouth of Wabamun Creek in charge of a clerk named Hughes of the 
North West Company. On May 7th he reached Fort Augustus and three 
days later passed Fort George, his starting place. Fort George was by 
this time in a ruinous condition and was being abandoned for a fort a few 
miles up the river called Island Fort built by De Coigne in 1801, situated 
in section 19, township 56, range 5, west of the 4th meridian. On May 
18th he left Fort George and mentions the ruins of several old posts ob- 
served by him, viz., Umfreville's old house, in section 4, township 53, 
range 25 west 3rd meridian on May 20th. He mentions another Island 
House near the old site of Manchester House where he spent the winter 
of 1793 — and Turtle River House in section 4, township 36, range 18 west 
3rd meridian. Before he reached The Elbow he must have noticed the 
site of Cole's old post where Cole gave the laudanum to the Indians in 
1780. He went on to Grand Portage and in the autumn returned to Rocky 
Mountain House, then in charge of Duncan McGillivray. 

Rocky Mountain House and Alexander Mackenzie's old fort on the 
Peace River were now to be Thompson's headquarters during the years 
he was to spend in Alberta and before he began his transmontane explora- 
tions. On October 5th Thompson traveled up the Clearwater and over to 
the Red Deer River and visited a camp of the Peigans at the mouth of 
William Creek. From there he travelled twenty-two miles west to con- 
duct a band of Kootenay Indians to Rocky Mountain House. When the 
Indians were ready to return he sent two of his men, Le Blanc and Le 
Gassi, with them to spend the winter in their home across the mountains. 
These men were, as far as we know, the first white men to cross from the 
Saskatchewan to the Columbia River. Accompanied by Duncan McGil- 
livray, a North West Company partner, Thompson went south again until 
he reached the Bow River in the vicinity of Calgary. According to 
Tyrell's summary he surveyed the northeast side of the river down to a 
short distance below the bend, where he crossed it and went on to the 
Highwood River which he reached two miles above its mouth. From here 




he turned a little west of south and reached a camp of the Peigans in lati- 
tude 50 degrees, 35 minutes, 30 seconds north, travelling on Tongue Flag 
Creek. He was now farther south in Alberta than any white man had 
yet reached, except Peter Fidler of the Hudson's Bay Company, who was 
at the foot of Chief Mountain in 1792. "After stopping here for a short 
time," says Tyrell, "in order to establish friendly relations with these 
Indians, he turned northward and again reached the Bow River at a 
point which he places in latitude 51 degrees, 13 minutes, 51 seconds north, 
longitude 114 degrees, 58 minutes, 22 seconds west, a short distance from 
the mouth of the Ghost River. From here he followed the Bow River 
upwards on its south bank for three miles and then fording the stream, 
followed the trail on its north bank to the steep cliffs of the mountains 
where the town of Exshaw is now located." Here McGillivray killed a 
mountain sheep, possibly the first specimen to reach the hands of sys- 
tematic naturalists. Thence he returned to his old camp on the Bow River 
and struck northward to Rocky Mountain House. McGillivray explored 
the country towards the Brazeau River and the country up the Saskatche- 
wan to its headwaters and discovered Howse Pass, which he crossed to 
the head of the Blaeberry River. Thompson, accompanied by Hughes, 
explored the Saskatchewan up to Sheep Creek and up the valley 
of this creek as far as horses could go. An effort was made to go on with 
the canoe by a way over the mountains, but as the river was in flood the 
expedition failed. 

He returned to the fort June 30th and towards the end of the summer 
came down to Fort Augustus and back again on horseback. Here he re- 
mained until May, 1802, when he went to Fort William and returned to 
Lesser Slave Lake in October of the same year. Crossing the lake to a 
North West Company post where Grouard now stands, he proceeded to 
the Peace River and took up his headquarters at Mackenzie's old fort. 
He spent the winter at the fort, but was active throughout the summer in 
exploration, making five trips from the fort and back. In December of 
that year he was back at the North West Company post on the west end 
of Lesser Slave Lake and crossed the lake to its outlet to the Little Slave 
River where the principal North West Company post on the lake was 
situated, and in charge of John McGillivray, Macintosh and Jarvis, clerks 
of the company. Here Thompson wrote a number of letters to the agents 
of the Company at different posts for porcupine quills, upon which Coues 
comments: "No doubt to adorn his young wife." This was Thompson's 
substitute in those simple days for cut glass or a wrist watch. He was 
back to the Forks on the Peace December 29th. On these trips he noticed 
the existence of XY posts at Peace River Forks and near the head of 
Little Slave River. 

On February 29th, 1804, he journeyed up the Peace River to the most 
westerly posts of the North West Company, Rocky Mountain House, which 
must be distinguished from the one on the Saskatchewan where he win- 


tered in 1800-1801, and also from the Rocky Mountain House afterwards 
built on the Athabaska River within the present Jasper Park. The Peace 
River Mountain House was in longitude 120 degrees, 38 minutes, a short 
distance beyond the boundary line between Alberta and British Columbia. 
He arrived here on March 6th and was back at headquarters March 13th. 
Two days later he set out with his wife and children for Fort William. 
He travelled down the river to Horse Shoe House, latitude 57 degrees, 8 
minutes north, where he remained from March 20th to April 30th until 
the river was clear of ice. He then continued by canoe passing the North 
West Company post on May 2nd, which he calls Fort Vermilion, though 
it was considerably higher up the river than the present Fort Vermilion 
of the Hudson's Bay Company. Below it the following posts are men- 
tioned in succession: Old Fort DuTremble; Fort Liard, not far from the 
site of the present Fort Vermilion; Fort Wenzel, five miles below the 
Vermilion Falls; and Grand Marais of the North West Company, then 
deserted. On May 12th he reached Athabaska House at the present site 
of Fort Chipewyan, in company with a North West Company trader by 
the name of Wenzel. Crossing Lake Athabaska he ascended the river 
and on May 17th passed Peter Pond's old fort, reaching the mouth of the 
Clearwater, where McMurray now stands, on May 19th. From here he 
proceeded along the route he had already surveyed up Clearwater River 
across the Methy Portage and thence by Cumberland House to Fort 

The next few years Thompson spent in the vicinity of Hudson's Bay. 
Meantime old Simon McTavish died in 1804 and the XY Company amal- 
gamated with the North West Company. At the big meeting at Fort 
William in 1806, the North West Company, renewed and strengthened 
by the union, resolved on a vigorous policy of expansion and to follow 
up the work of Alexander Mackenzie. Accordingly Thompson, the most 
suitable man in the service, was delegated to open up relations with the 
Indians west of the mountains. He arrived at Rocky Mountain House on 
the Saskatchewan, October 29th, 1806, then in charge of Jules Quesnell. 
Here he spent the winter 1806-1807 maturing plans for his transmontane 
expedition. With wife and family he started on May 10th, sending Finan 
Macdonald ahead with canoes up the river while he travelled on horse- 
back. The party passed Kootenay Plain and reached a spot in the moun- 
tains where they were forced to abandon the canoes. They packed their 
supplies on horses and reached the summit of Howse Pass June 25th. 
Emerging from the pass the party descended the Blaeberry River to the 
Columbia, which Thompson called the Kootenay, which he reached on 
June 30th. The reader will wonder why this pass is called Howse. 
Joseph Howse was a clerk of the Hudson's Bay Company. He crossed the 
pass in 1809, two years later than Thompson. The pass was really dis- 
covered and traversed first by Duncan McGillivray in 1800 and Jaco 
Finlay, the Indian half brother of James Finlay, who kept an outpost of 


the Rocky Mountain House at Kootenay Plain, and had been over the pass 
in 1806. Howse, however, was the best publicity agent and so carried off 
the honour. 

Thompson spent the next twelve months on the Columbia trading with 
the Indians, but returned to the Saskatchewan via Howse Pass, reaching 
Kootenay Plain June 22nd, 1808. Leaving his family at Boggy Hall, he 
descended the river by canoe and went east as far as Rainy Lake, return- 
ing to Boggy Hall, October 3rd of the same year. This trip of Thompson's 
is interesting to Albertans because of the observations he makes respect- 
ing the forts on the river at this time. Boggy Hall is a new post to the 
reader. When it was built we do not exactly know, but it was situated on 
the north bank of the Saskatchewan between townships 46 and 47, range 
9, just above Blue Rapids. The next post was Fort Muskako in township 
30, range 6 west 5th, called Quagmire Hall by Henry. He does not men- 
tion Upper White Mud House, Fort Edmonton, nor Fort Augustus, though 
we have seen that these posts were in existence on his first trip down the 
river in 1800. Fort George was in ruins and old Fort Augustus had been 
pillaged and destroyed by the Blackfeet. He mentions Old Island Fort, 
twenty miles above Fort George and a new fort within Alberta, viz., Fort 
Vermilion. This fort was just built on the north side of the river opposite 
the mouth of the Vermilion River. It was the headquarters of the district. 
Alexander Henry the younger had just arrived from the Red River to take 
charge of this fort for the North West Company. There was also a Hud- 
son's Bay Company post at this point in charge of Henry Hallett and 
Robert Longmore. After spending 40 years with the Company Longmore 
left the country, having saved £1800 in that time. 

We find Thompson in the Kootenay country across the mountains 
during the winter of 1808-1809 and back again at new Fort Augustus 
(Edmonton of the present day) in June, 1809, where he met his old friend 
James Hughes, now partner of the North West Company of whom Mac- 
donald of Garth says "he was as brave a fellow as ever treaded the earth." 
He sent his brigade eastward while he returned to the Columbia, meeting 
Joseph Howse at Kootenay Plain on his way back from the pass that 
falsely bears his name. We find him back on the Saskatchewan again in 
1810 on his way to Rainy Lake accompanied by his family. By this time 
Upper Fort Augustus (present Edmonton) and Fort Vermilion were aban- 
doned and a new house built at the mouth of the White Earth River, section 
1, township 59, range 16, west 4th. Henry was in charge of the post for 
the North West Company and Hallett for the Hudson's Bay Company, 
Returning in the autumn with his canoes laden with goods for the Colum- 
bia department he attempted to cross by his old route — Howse Pass. His 
objective was now the mouth of the Columbia River. Bad luck attended 
his attempts to reach the Columbia by this route. His canoes were turned 
back at the head of the Saskatchewan by the Peigans who were angry at 
the North West Company for supplying arms to their enemies, the 


Kootenays. Not all the ability of Alexander Henry could outwit the 
Indians, and Thompson was forced to find another route over the Rocky 

The route he followed on this expedition became one of the most im- 
portant in the whole history of trans-continental transportation in west- 
ern Canada. From the time that Thompson discovered the Athabaska 
Pass in 1810, it was the main highway across Canada until the completion 
of the C. P. Railway in 1886. Frustrated in his attempt to cross the 
Howse Pass, Thompson gathered his men and horses at Boggy Hall and 
followed the old Indian trail until he reached the Athabaska River near 
the point where the Canadian National Railway reaches it now. This was 
in December, 1810. Proceeding up the river he turned southward at the 
point where the Miette joins the Athabasca to Whirlpool River and crossed 
the Athabasca Pass descending Wood River to Boat Encampment on the 
Columbia. After unfortunate delays at this point he finally reached the 
mouth of the Columbia July 15th, 1811, two months after the establish- 
ment of Fort Astoria by the Pacific Fur Company, a new rival in the fur 
trade of the west, headed by John Jacob Astor. 

The reader will be interested to learn that one of the principal mem- 
bers of Astor's party sent out to found Astoria, was Alexander McKay, 
who accompanied Mackenzie on his overland journey to the Pacific Ocean 
in 1793. The ship "Tonquin" which brought the party from New York 
to the mouth of the Columbia was blown up with all on board while on 
a trading voyage up the west coast of Washington and Vancouver Island. 
Alexander McKay, chosen to lead this expedition, lost his life in this 
disaster, and as we may surmise, it was "an irreparable loss to the Com- 
pany" as Franchere tells us. 

The next year Thompson made his last journey through the Province. 
Returning from the Lower Columbia to Boat Encampment, he crossed the 
Athabaska Pass May 8th, and on May 11th was at Henry House at the 
confluence of the Miette with the Athabaska, opposite the present station 
house at Jasper. From Henry House he proceeded by canoe down the 
Athabaska to the Little Slave River and turned up to the North West 
Company post at the foot of the lake. Continuing his journey down the 
Athabaska he reached the mouth of Lac la Biche River and ascended to 
the Lake of the same name. Crossing the Portage to Beaver River he 
descended to Isle a la Crosse. From here he continued by the usual route 
to Fort William and thence to Terrebonne, near Montreal. Here Thomp- 
son took up his residence and set to work to prepare his wonderful map 
of Western Canada for the North West Company. He never returned to 
the West again. Towards the end of his life he lost his fortune, and the 
great explorer was forced to sell his instruments and pawn his coat for 
food. The reader will observe that Thompson traversed every principal 
river of the Province. He established the first trans-continental trade 


route and made the first topographical survey of western Canada. Like 
Verendrye he has not received the fame due his name for his great work. 

This is an appropriate point at which to review progress made on the 
Peace, Athabaska and Mackenzie Rivers since we parted with Alexander 
Mackenzie in 1793. The twenty years that succeeded Mackenzie's expedi- 
tions to the Pacific Ocean witnessed a rapid development of the fur trade 
within Alberta and its adjacent territory. Thompson explored the lower 
Columbia and the Kootenay and Simon Eraser following in the footsteps 
of Mackenzie ascended the Peace River and reached the Eraser, descend- 
ing this turbulent stream to its mouth, 1806-07. There were now three 
passes through the Rocky Mountains to the Columbia Department, — 
Howse, Athabaska and Peace. A lucrative trade was springing up. Each 
year the Peace and Saskatchewan were thronged to and fro with rich 
cargoes of fur for the East and goods and supplies for the western posts. 
Within the Province of Alberta and outlying territory many posts were 
built, principally by the North West Company and the XY Company. 
The Hudson's Bay Company found great difficulty in establishing trade 
in these regions and cannot be said to have gained a foothold within the 
period considered. Though Peter Fidler built Nottingham House in 1802 
on the site of the present Fort Chipewyan, beside North West post the 
Hudson's Bay Company abandoned it in 1806 and retired from the whole 
Athabasca district until 1815 when the company built Eort Wedderburne 
near the same post. Posts were built by the rival Canadian companies all 
the way from Hudson's Hope on the Peace River to Bears Lake Castle on 
the west end of Great Bear Lake and up the Liard River to Fort Nelson 
on the Nelson River. 

Beginning at the west end of the Peace we shall try to give the posts 
in order as they existed when Thompson left the country in 1812, The 
first post was at Hudson's Hope. This post was established by Simon 
Eraser and John Stewart in 1805 as the base for Eraser's explorations 
in New Caledonia. It was situated on the north bank of the Peace. Sub- 
sequently there was a post on the south bank of the river at the foot of 
the Canyon. Harmon, who passed here in 1810 on his way to take charge 
of the North West Company affairs in New Caledonia, called it Rocky 
Mountain Portage Eort. The next fort was Eort St. John. Thompson 
does not mention this post in his survey of the river in 1804. Tyrell says 
this was Rocky Mountain House and it is marked on Tyrell's map. As 
Rocky Mountain House is a generic name, it is evident the post is the 
same as Fort St. John. 

Entering Alberta the next post was Fort Dunvegan. This was a 
large, well built fort. Harmon arrived here in 1808 and spent the winter 
here with a number of North West Company partners, among whom were 
John McGillivray, J. D. McTavish, John McTavish, Archibald Norman 
Macleod and 32 others comprising clerks and voyageurs, nine women and 
several children. Supplies of buffalo, moose, red deer and berries were 


easily obtained, which no doubt was the reason it was regarded as such 
a popular winter resort. The Indians in the neighborhood were Beavers 
and a few Iroquois and were excellent hunters. The Iroquois Indians 
were brought from the East by the North West Company to assist in 
hunting furs. Potatoes, vegetables and barley were grown and yielded 
large returns. In 1809 barley was cut on July 21st and Harmon says it 
was the finest he had ever seen in any country. 

Proceeding down the river the next fort was near the junction of the 
Smoky with the Peace. This was where Alexander Mackenzie wintered 
before his dash to the Pacific and where Thompson spent the winters of 
1803 and 1804 and was called by him the Fort of Forks. 

Five miles below the Smoky on the north side of the Peace was Mac- 
leod's Fort. This was a well constructed fort, for James Mackenzie, a 
grouchy old partner of the North West Company, stationed at Fort 
Chipewyan in 1799, complained that the men's quarters at Macleod's Fort 
were better than those provided for the bourgeois at Fort Chipewyan. 
There were five bastions, courtyards everywhere and spacious gardens. 
Below this point, Thompson in his voyage down the Peace in 1804 men- 
tions forts in the following order: Horse Shoe Fort, latitude 57 degrees, 
8 minutes; Fort Vermilion, considerably higher up the river than the 
present post of that name ; Fort DuTremble ; Fort Liard, not far from 
the present site of Fort Vermilion; Fort Wenzel, five miles below Ver- 
milion Falls ; Grand Marais, and ^Athabasca House on the site of the pres- 
ent Fort Chipev^an. Harmon ascended the Peace from Fort Chipewyan in 
1808 and mentions Fort Vermilion sixty miles above Virmilion Falls which 
would be near the site of the present Fort Vermilion. He also mentions En- 
campment Island Fort but does not give its position and it is not marked 
on Thompson's map. On Lake Athabaska, a new Fort Chipewyan was 
rising on the north side of the lake on the site of the present fort. Be- 
side the North West Company fort was the Hudson's Bay Company fort 
built by Peter Fidler in 1802. It is not definitely known when the new fort 
was built by the North West Company, but it was there when Thompson 
came down in 1804. In the Mackenzie River region, the reader will re- 
member that Laurent Leroux built a post on the north side of Great Slave 
in 1786. It was found to be too distant from the Northern Chipewyans and 
ten years later Duncan Livingstone was sent to build a fort eighty miles 
trom the source of the Mackenzie, which would place it near the site of 
Fort Providence. John Thompson, who succeeded him in 1799, was killed 
on the lower reaches of the Mackenzie by the Esquimaux. A post was 
later established on the west end of Great Bear Lake soon afterwards 
known as Fort Franklin. In 1805 Alexander Mackenzie (not Sir Alexan- 
der) went down to old Fort Good Hope and on his return left Charles Grant 
to build a post at Blue Fish River, 60 miles below Fort Norman. There 

1 Thompson's name for Nottingham House. 


was also a fort at the mouth of the Clearwater as shown on Thompson's 
map, where Fort McMurray now stands. 

Some of the best men of the service were generally stationed inside 
the Athabasca and Mackenzie departments, indicating the importance of 
these regions as a fur supply for the North West Company, The main- 
tenance of these posts was difficult and often hazardous owing to the 
possibility of starvation and the hostility of the Indians. At Great Bear 
Fort in 1811, all but one of the clerks starved to death. 

Although the Athabaska River was becoming at this time the prin- 
cipal highway from the plains to the Pacific Coast, few posts were built 
along its course. The first we have any record of is Henry House, built 
by William Henry, cousin of the famous diarist, during the interval that 
Thompson was on the Columbia from June, 1811, to May, 1812. Reference 
is made to this post by several travellers who crossed the continent by 
this route. Gabriel Franchere, who descended the Athabasca in May, 
1814, on his way from Fort Astoria with a number of North West Com- 
pany men and Pacific Fur Company men, mentions this post as "an old 
house which the traders of the North West Company had once constructed, 
but which had been abandoned for four or five years." 

The next post down the river was located on the west side on the 
lower end of Brule Lake. Franchere called it "Rocky Mountain House" 
and described it as "surrounded by steep rocks, inhabited only by moun- 
tain sheep and goats." It was really the original site of Jasper's House, 
and so called after Jasper Hawes or Howse, who built it. It was main- 
tained as a provision depot to facilitate traffic through the mountains to 
the Columbia River posts. Joseph Decoigne, the founder of Fort D'Isle 
on the Saskatchewan River, above Fort George, was in charge. 

From this point Franchere's party took canoes to a small post called 
"Hunter's Lodge" some miles above the junction of the Pembina with 
the Athabasca, and where a supply of canoes was kept for the use of 
North West Company men who went up and down the river. 

Ross Cox, who passed down the river in 1817, with a brigade of over 
eighty people of the Pacific Fur Company from Astoria, says Henry's old 
fort was abandoned, and that "Jasper's House" was a "miserable concern 
of rough logs with only three apartments, but scrupulously clean." Jasper 
Hawes himself was now in charge. In later years Jasper's House was 
built farther up the river at the foot of Jasper Lake. 

It will no doubt be observed by the reader that the development of the 
fur trade was confined to the northern part of the province. This was 
due to the character of the country. The open plains of Southern Alberta 
were not a good fur country. The only furs were buffalo and wolf skins, 
lightly prized by the trader in comparison with marten, beaver, black and 
silver fox of the Athabaska and Mackenzie districts. 

The Blackfeet and Sarcees found no difficulty in reaching the trading 
posts on the Saskatchewan and could travel at all seasons of the year. 


The only post by this time in the south country was Chesterfield House 
at the confluence of the Red Deer River and the south branch of the Sas- 
katchewan. It was built by Macdonald of Garth for the North West 
Company in 1805. It was soon abandoned, however, and not re-built until 
after the union of 1821. The Hudson's Bay Company and XY Company 
had posts on the same site. 

Conditions of living and trade at the posts in Alberta were much the 
same as in other parts of the North- West. Alexander Henry, the younger, 
who spent many years in the Red River, Saskatchewan and Columbia 
districts for the North West Company, has left in his extensive journals 
an instructive picture of life in the province at the end of the 18th cen- 
tury. Henry arrived at Fort Vermilion, situated as we have seen on the 
North Saskatchewan, opposite where the Vermilion debouches into the 
Saskatchewan from the south, in September, 1808, and spent three years 
on the Saskatchewan visiting at different and frequent intervals the 
various posts from the Vermilion to the headwaters in the Rocky Moun- 
tains. During this period the bitter opposition that characterized the 
relations of the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company 
had not developed. From Henry's observations and Harmon's express 
statements, we learn that the rival companies and their men lived on 
amicable terms. The whole occupation of the people, Indians and traders, 
was obtaining food and fur. Indians exchanged their furs for the mer- 
chandise of the company which was imported into the country by the 
Hudson's Bay Company via York House and Fort Churchill and by the 
North West Company via Fort William and Rainy Lake. Transportation 
was by York Boats, canoes, dogs and horses. Red River carts were not 
used in Alberta until many years later. Horses were procured from the 
Blackfeet and Henry tells us the price of a horse in his day was a keg of 
Blackfoot rum, 2 fathoms of new twist tobacco, 20 balls and powder 
enough to fire them, one awl, one scalper, one falcher, one worm, 1 P. C. 
glass, one steel and one flint. "We did not mix our liquor," he says, "so 
strong as we did for tribes who are more accustomed to use it. To make 
a nine gallon keg of liquor we generally put in four or five quarts of high 
wine, then filled it up with water. For the Crees and Assiniboines we put 
in six quarts of high wine and for the Saulteurs eight or nine quarts." 
Horse stealing was very common among the Indians and they were bold 
enough to steal from the company's herds. In fact horse stealing per- 
sisted in the North-West until it was finally and effectually stamped out 
by the N. W. M. P. and Chief Justice Sifton over a century later. 

When the goods arrived in the fall the Indians thronged the forts to 
get their supplies, which were advanced for the winter's hunt. Henry 
calls this "giving debts for the winter." The utmost diplomacy and firm- 
ness was necessary in handling the various tribes who frequented the 
forts; for example, at Vermilion in 1808 and 1809 Henry tells us that he 
traded with the Crees and a few Slaves from the north, with the Assini- 


boines from Battle River, the Blackfeet, Bloods and some Sarcees from 
the south. Every tribe was a rival of every other one. For this reason the 
fur traders tried to keep the tribes separated by having each one attend a 
certain fort. For example, the Peigans traded at Fort Augustus (Edmon- 
ton) and Rocky Mountain House. The Bloods and Blackfeet, however, 
were not allowed to trade at Rocky Mountain House until about 1860. 
When one considers that there was no organized government and no police 
within thousands of miles, the accomplishment of the task of preserving 
the life of the trader and those of his men, not to mention the maintenance 
of peace and order necessary to pursue successful commerce with all tribes, 
— seems a miracle. 

In addition to furs, the traders of the Saskatchewan traded their 
goods for buffalo and moose meat, pemmican and dried berries. Pemmi- 
can was one of the principal articles of trade in the Saskatchewan coun- 
try. It was taken for example to Cumberland House, and shipped to the 
northern posts on the Athabaska and Mackenzie, which were never so 
fortunate in the matter of a safe supply of food, if reliance was placed on 
local resources of those distant posts. Sometimes the pemmican was 
shipped overland from the Saskatchewan to Isle a la Crosse and thence to 
the Athabasca posts. Bateaux were built expressly for this purpose at 
Fort George where there was considerable timber. The Indians were con- 
tinually arriving at the forts during the winter with their furs. It was 
customary for the tribe to come in a body. A short distance from the 
fort they halted and sent a deputation of young men to announce their 
arrival. Presents consisting of six inches of tobacco twist and a pint of 
Indian rum were sent to each principal man of the tribe. After regaling 
themselves the Chief and his principal men came in and met the factor, 
and trading began. Prices were fixed by a tariff agreed upon for the 
season's business at the big meeting at Fort William in the previous sum- 
mer. In the spring packing commenced for the long journey to Hudson's 
Bay or Lake Superior, During the winter life at the fort was a busy one 
for all. While waiting for the Indians to come in with their season's 
catch, the men at the forts were engaged in various tasks. Some built 
bateaux to carry 90 pound bags of pemmican and kegs of grease. Others 
built new canoes or repaired the old ones and searched the woods for 
bark and gum. Still others sawed boards for the houses. Hunters were 
kept at each establishment to secure food and supplement the catch of 
fur by the Indians. Many of the posts, such as Vermilion, White Earth 
House and Edmonton House had immense ice houses where hundreds of 
large buffalo carcasses were stored. Henry tells us in the winter of 1809 
he packed 380 front quarters and 530 hind quarters of buffalo meat in 
his ice house. When the North West Company abandoned Fort Vermilion 
May 31st, 1810, ''400 limbs of buffalo meat still frozen" were left in the 
ice house. The women busied themselves stretching buffalo skins and 
sewing pemmican bags. There was constant travelling up and down the 


river between the various posts. Men and goods were transferred and 
exchanged according to the necessity of the respective posts. For ex- 
ample at White Earth House in 1810 the barley was frozen, so Henry 
sent his harvesters to Edmonton to reap a splendid harvest at that post. 
We get a still more intimate glimpse of life on the river and plain 
from Henry's story of the establishment of White Earth House in 1810. 
As we have seen, Fort Vermilion and Fort Augustus were abandoned in 
1810 for a new post at the mouth of the White Earth River. It was a 
joint venture of the North West and Hudson's Bay Companies. The post 
was a compact little village composed of two distinct communities repre- 
senting two great trading companies. This was before the savage and 
bloody conflict that later disgraced the conduct of both companies in the 
years between 1811 and 1821. The population of the post included 135 
North West Company and 85 Hudson's Bay Company people. Henry and 
Hallett laid out the ground together which was enclosed by a stockade. 
Within the stockade positions were assigned for the houses of each com- 
pany separated by another stockade which divided the entire enclosure. 
Henry's workmen ate a bag of pemmican a day. All summer the work 
v/ent merrily on. Warehouses were built and covered with boards sawn 
from timber in the near-by woods. Workmen's houses and the Big House 
for the Chief Factor were built before the winter set in. Some were 
covered with earth or bark and plastered with the white mud that gave 
its name to the post. Stockades were cut and stones gathered for the 
chimneys of the houses. The logs and heavy planks were drawn from 
the woods by a drag or what Henry calls "a go-devil." A blacksmith's 
shop and a hen house were erected and Henry says he had to make a 
separate coop for his rooster, for as he notes in his journal with apparent 
regret, this rooster killed one of the two chickens he raised that summer. 
Fields were cleared for barley and potatoes and turnips and radishes were 
sown in the woods. Women picked strawberries, raspberries and cran- 
berries to mix with the pemmican. Haying was finished on August 29th, 
the men having put up more than 2000 bundles. Altogether Henry was 
well satisfied with the work of the summer, though he remarked "The 
men work as usual but they take their own time and smoke very often." 
If Henry was alive in 1923 he would readily recognise many of his old gang. 
It is worthy of note, however, that throughout the entire season the men 
did not work on Sunday but once. That was on September 16th and they 
worked that Sunday on the condition that they would get a holiday when 
the brigade arrived from Fort William. 





The history of the ten years from 1811 to 1821 is concerned with the 
bitter and bloody rivalry of the two big fur companies, — The North West 
Company and the Hudson's Bay Company. The struggle commenced on 
the Red River with the establishment of the Selkirk settlement and spread 
to Athabasca, the richest fur region in the whole North-West. Lord 
Selkirk had become the controlling shareholder in the Hudson's Bay Co., 
and launched his Red River colonization scheme in opposition to Sir Alex- 
ander Mackenzie, John Inglis, Edward Ellice and other Nor'Westers 
who held Hudson's Bay Company stock. Mackenzie advised the Nor'West 
partners to buy the controlling interests in the Hudson's Bay Company 
but Simon McGillivray thought it was easier to fight their opponents or 
divide the territory, and proposed that the Hudson's Bay Company should 
restrict their operations to the Hudson's Bay area and allow the North 
West Company the freedom of the Athabaska and Saskatchewan and Red 
River districts. Selkirk, however, had obtained high legal opinion on the 
legality of the Hudson's Bay Charter and believed that the Company had 
exclusive rights, territorial and otherwise, throughout the Hudson's Bay 
area and the entire North-West. He therefore saw no reason for sharing 
with others what he thought belonged exclusively to himself. 

Had the Nor-Westers taken the advice of Mackenzie the conflict of 
violence and plunder would have been avoided and the course of events 
materially changed. The first conflict arose out of Selkirk's attempt to 
oust the North West Company from the immense land grant he had 
secured from the Hudson's Bay Company along the Red River, — 116,000 
square miles comprising Manitoba and a large portion of what is now 
the State of Minnesota. It soon became a life and death struggle for the 
control of the fur trade of the entire North-West. Acting on the advice 
of experienced Canadians in the western fur trade, like Colin Robertson 
and John Clarke, Selkirk decided to adopt new methods and employ 
Canadians instead of Orkney men in the service of the Company. Both 
Robertson and Clarke were old Nor'Westers. Robertson had been at 
Fort Augustus with Macdonald of Garth in the early days, but quarrelling 
with that haughty bourgeois he stepped out of the North West Fort and 
readily obtained employment at the Hudson's Bay Company Post, a gun- 
shot away. He was just the man for Selkirk, — brave, resourceful, an 



experienced trader and traveller, and burning with hatred against his 
former employers. Clarke was known as "Fighting John Clarke." He 
left the service of the North West Company in 1810 and joined the Astor 
Expedition to the mouth of the Columbia. After the purchase of that 
enterprise by the Nor'Westers he then took service with the Hudson's 
Bay Company. For the first time in the history of the fur trade, the 
Nor'Westers were to be opposed by men as skilled in dealing with the 
natives, as daring and resourceful in means of attack and defense, in a 
vast region where neither form of government nor law or order had been 
established. "The Lords of the Lakes and Forests" were to be challenged 
for the supremacy of the North-West. 

When Selkirk purchased his 116,000 square miles, he deemed himself 
as much the owner of the soil in fee simple, as the homesteader of today 
Vv'ho obtains his patent from the Crown, and as legally empowered to resist 
and oust all trespassers. "With respect to our rights of landed property, 
that is universally considered as clear and quite unquestionable," he wrote 
to Miles McDonnell, June 30th, 1813. He was determined that the North 
West Company should not obtain any prescriptive right by unmolested 
occupation. "The North West Company must be compelled to quit my 
lands, especially my posts at the Forks," he wrote on March 31st, 1816. 
"You must give them solemn warning that the land belongs to the Hud- 
son's Bay Company. They should be treated as poachers. We are so 
fully advised of the unimpeachable validity of these rights of property, 
there can be no scruple in enforcing them when you have the physical 
means." The Nor'Westers, who regarded themselves as the lineal descend- 
ants of the French in the Interior, were ready to answer the challenge of 
physical means. They had occupied the country before the Hudson's Bay 
traders and claimed it by title of prior occupation. Now they were eager 
to doubly confirm that title by conquest. 

The first act in the exercise of this overlordship of Selkirk's, was con- 
tained in the Order of January 8th, 1814. It reminds us of one of the 
food orders of the Food Board in the late war. Governor Miles McDonnell, 
in the name of Lord Selkirk, forbade the export of fur or provisions from 
the District of Assiniboia by water or land for a period of twelve months. 
Such a drastic policy of restriction struck a hard blow at the trade of the 
Nor'Westers. The North West Company brigades depended in a great 
measure upon the buffalo meat of the Red River for their food supply. 
To add to the dilemma the War of 1812 between Canada and the United 
States cut off the North West Company supplies from Montreal. The 
brigades and posts were dependent therefore solely upon the Red River 
and the Saskatchewan districts. Most of the supplies at this time origin- 
ated in the Red River District. The native population lived by buffalo 
hunting. Selkirk's order, therefore, involved serious consequences for the 
people and the company. 

Governor McDonnell followed up his Order by the seizure of 600 bags 




of pemmican of the North West Company at Fort Souris. This was the 
first writ of attachment ever issued in the North-West. John Spencer, a 
member of Selkirk's Council of Assiniboia, was the Sheriff, While Spencer 
was at Souris, John Warren, with a party of armed Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany followers, scoured the country around Pembina for the Plain Rang- 
ers, and seized their pemmican stores. This looks like an arbitrary and 
ungrateful act towards those who had befriended the colonists during the 
first years of their sojourn at Red River. McDonnell did his work vdth 
vim and vengeance. 

One can easily imagine the indignation of the Nor'Westers at the big 
meeting at Fort William that summer, "It is the first time the Nor'- 
Westers have permitted themselves to be insulted," said William McGilli- 
vray, and insult to the proud "Lords of the Lakes and Forests" was more 
galling than financial loss. From that day there was civil war in the 
North-West. The one bright spot in the dark tragedy of plunder, violence 
and bloodshed, was the staunch impartiality of the Indians from the 
Red River to the Athabasca. And this is true of the Indians all through 
North-West history. They have never risen against the white man as 
such for invading their territories. They have been cajoled and deluded 
into rebellion, but always by designing factions. This was true in 1816, 
in 1870 and in 1885. Nothing could induce old Chief Peguis of the 
Saulteaux to join either the Hudson's Bay Company or the North West 
Company. He has beaten President Wilson as a model of "strict 

Governor McDonnell followed up his food order with a still more 
exasperating order, viz., notice to the North West Company to quit. 
This notice was issued to the North West Company partners in charge 
of Posts in the District of Assiniboia. It was dated October 21st, 1814 and 
ordered the North West Company to quit their posts and premises within 
six months. The details of the events that quickly followed in Red River 
are not part of our story. We are not concerned with the arrest of 
Governor McDonnell by Duncan Cameron, the North West Company agent 
at Fort Gibraltar, the arrest of Cameron in retaliation by Colin Robert- 
son, the tragedy of Sevenoaks, the capture of Fort William by Selkirk and 
his visit to the colony. Any reference to these events is made for the 
purpose of relating them to the events to which they gave rise in the 
distant Athabasca District. Governor McDonnell was arrested June, 1815 
and sent to Canada. The Selkirk colonists in alarm fled down the river 
to Lake Winnipeg, hoping to obtain succour from the Hudson's Bay 
Company brigade due from York Factory. Help <:ame, however, from 
quite a different quarter. Colin Robertson and John Clarke, who had been 
in Canada recruiting men for the Hudson's Bay service, arrived from the 
East with a large number of Canadian traders and voyageurs bound for 
the Athabaska, where they were determined to establish a line of Hudson's 
Bay posts and fight fire with fire. Robertson rallied the disconsolate colon- 


ists and led them back to their homes on the Red River. Clarke went on 
to the Athabaska, vowing to send every "Nor'Wester out a prisoner to the 
Bay". Hardened and resourceful old veteran though he was, many 
troublous days were to pass before his boast was realised. He came to 
dire disaster. The expedition was divided into three brigades. One was 
stationed at Lake Athabasca, one went down the Slave River to Slave Lake, 
and the third under Clarke himself, went up the Peace River. So confi- 
dent was he of capturing the North West Company Forts that he thought 
it unnecessary to take in a full winter's supply of food. The wily Nor'- 
Westers proved more than a match for him. He stormed Fort Vermilion 
without success and Mcintosh, the agent in charge, chased him back to 
Athabaska. At Fort Chipewyan he was opposed by Archibald McGillivray 
and Samuel Black, who succeeded in keeping the Indians from trading 
with him and finally, after inviting him to dine with them one evening, 
they clapped him into prison. Many of his men died of starvation, others 
were coaxed or flogged into service with the North West Company. Of 
the gallant and dashing crew that followed "Fighting John" to the North, 
only a pitiable remnant ever reached Fort William again. 

The affray at Sevenoaks in June, 1816, in which Governor Semple lost 
his life in the capture of Fort Douglas by the Nor'Westers under A. N. 
Macleod and Cuthbert Grant, followed by the capture of the North West 
Company stronghold at Fort William a few weeks later by Lord Selkirk, 
fanned the hostility of the rival companies into a white heat. Both sides 
now began to play for the climax of the tragedy. 

The events of this year made a profound impression in Canada and 
the Old Country. A Royal Proclamation was issued by the Prince Regent 
in Quebec in 1817 commanding all persons in the Indian territories to 
desist from any hostile aggression and requiring all officers and men for- 
merly in His Majesty's service to leave the service of the Hudson's Bay 
Company and the North West Company within twenty-four hours after 
receiving knowledge of the Proclamation. The Proclamation further spe- 
cially directed that no blockades should be made to prevent or interrupt the 
free passage of traders and their merchandise, furs and provisions 
throughout the North West Territories and that all persons should be free 
to pursue their accustomed trade without molestation. Both parties de- 
cided to ignore the Proclamation. Governor Williams, who had succeeded 
Semple as Governor of Assiniboia, declared the Proclamation was "all 
damned nonsense" and that he "would drive every Nor'Wester out of the 
country or die in the attempt". Up in the Athabaska District Archibald 
Norman Macleod was equally defiant. His orders to his bullies were: "Go 
to it, my lads. There is no law in the Indian Territory". 

The Hudson's Bay Company outfitted Colin Robertson and John Clarke 
a second time for the Athabaska. The expedition left Montreal in April, 
1819, and reached Fort Chipewyan in October with 130 armed men. It 
was to be a supreme effort and cost the company twenty thousand pounds. 


On his way up Robertson found that the Nor'Westers had so intimidated 
the Indians that they would have nothing to do with the Hudson's Bay 
Company men. "Well may the Nor'Westers boast of their success in the 
North," writes Robertson, "not an Indian dare speak to the Hudson's Bay 
Company". Robertson established himself in the old Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany quarters and in a few days forty of the tents of the Indians came over 
from the Nor'Westers. But the latter were not to be easily beaten. Some 
of the most experienced and daring of the Grand Partners were at Fort 
Chipewyan that winter — Simon McGillivray, Benjamin Frobisher, A. N. 
Macleod, Angus Shaw, William Mcintosh, John Duncan Campbell, Geo. 
McTavish and Samuel Black (Clarke's tormentor of three years before). 
"Black, the Nor'Wester, is now in his glory, leading his bullies," writes 
Robertson. "Every evening they come over to our Fort in a body, calling 
on our men to come out and fight pitched battles". Within ten days after 
his arrival, Robertson was captured and imprisoned. As the Nor'West 
bullies carried him away, Robertson shouted derisively, "We will capture 
them as we captured them at Fort Williams, with the sun shining on our 
faces." This was the first intimation to the natives of Athabaska that the 
North West Company had suffered the loss of their great stronghold. Fort 
William. The equal strength of the opposing parties may be surmised 
from the fact that the Hudson's Bay Company men did not attempt to res- 
cue Robertson. Notwithstanding that he was kept in a small room under 
guard day and night, he outwitted his captors and was successful in send- 
ing messages to his men regularly throughout the winter by means of 
cipher despatches secreted in whiskey kegs which the North West Com- 
pany allowed him to receive from time to time. In the spring, the 
Nor'Westers resolved to send Robertson out a prisoner to Fort William 
with the brigade. With the same brigade came McTavish, McGillivray, 
Shaw, Mcintosh and Frobisher. On the way down Robertson escaped 
from them at Cumberland House. Couriers had brought the news of his 
capture to Governor Williams at Red River. The old warrior was now to 
prove his disdain of the Royal Proclamation by more than words. He 
organized a company of DeMeuron soldiers, who had been brought to the 
Red River two years before by Lord Selkirk. These were the men who 
captured Fort William and were going to fulfil Robertson's threat "We will 
capture them as we captured them at Fort William". He set out for the 
Saskatchewan and took up his position where that river debouches into 
Lake Winnipeg at Grand Rapids. Here he met John Clarke from 
the Athabaska with two canoes on June 16th. From Clarke he learned 
the Nor'Westers were not far away. He had two 4-pounder brass cannon 
and a number of barges. He placed the barges across the river, mounted 
his guns and waited for his prey. On the 18th Frobisher and Campbell 
arrived in two light canoes. On the 23rd the remainder of the North 
West Company partners arrived at Grand Portage and were easily cap- 
tured with all the clerks and voyageurs. Upon Shaw remonstrating with 


Williams against this illegal stoppage on the King's highway and the 
scandalous defiance it caused of the Proclamation issued by the Prince 
Regent, Williams replied in heated words "I do not care a curse for the 
P'rince Regent's Proclamation. Lord Bathurst and Sir John Sherbrooke, 
by whom it was framed, are damned rascals. I act upon the Charter of 
the Hudson's Bay Company and as Governor and magistrate in this terri- 
tory I have sufficient authority and will do as I think proper." Upon a 
further remonstrance Williams stated in a rage : "As for Lord Bathurst, 
he is bribed by Nor'West gold; and Sir John Sherbrooke, the judges, jur- 
ies and Crown officers of Canada are a set of damned rascals, and for 
our part we shall act independently of the rascally Government of Canada." 

From the Journals of the North West Company it is apparent that the 
prisoners were roughly handled and treated with a rough handed retribu- 
tion whetted with revenge. Frobisher became violently insane from a 
blow on the head. With Campbell and McTavish he was sent down to 
York Factory. Here they met John Franklin with letters of introduction 
to both the North West and the Hudson's Bay Factors of the Athabaska. 
One can imagine the chagrin and despair of the proud lords of the North 
West Company to be so found, prisoners in the hands of their enemies. 
Shaw and McTavish were sent to England on Franklin's ship as steerage 
passengers. Campbell escaped overland to Canada and Frobisher was 
held a close prisoner. The treatment he received was harsh and bar- 
barous, even for the North- West at that time. With his faithful servants, 
Turcotte and Lepine he escaped on Sept. 30th. After a tedious journey 
and terrible sufferings he almost reached the first North West Company 
Post on the Saskatchewan. He became so ill he could not walk. His faith- 
ful comrades carried him until they were forced to give up. At his earnest 
request they left him and hastened to the post to secure help. It was seven 
days before they returned to find him, lying by the embers of the fire they 
had kindled for him, — dead. 

These events made the men on both sides sorely disgusted with such a 
ruinous policy and though Robertson was captured the following year at 
Grand Rapids by Campbell of the North West Company (the same Camp- 
bell captured by Williams and the DeMeurons and taken a prisoner to 
Montreal), the strife was virtually at an end. On his way to Montreal 
Robertson escaped from the North West Company Brigade and made his 
way to the United States. He heard the North West Company partners 
were proposing a union with the Hudson's Bay Company, and that some of 
the partners were on the way to London. He forthwith resolved to go to 
London and advise the General Court that union was unnecessary and that 
the North West Company had been overcome. Union, however, was the 
only policy possible if the fur trade was to be carried on at all, and less 
violent counsel than that of the unconquerable Robertson prevailed. 

The death of Lord Selkirk and that of Sir Alexander Mackenzie in 1820 
removed the animating spirits in the respective rival companies and opened 


the way for amalgamation. A meeting of the partners was held at Fort 
William in July, 1820, at which union was discussed. Delegates were 
sent to England to confer with the London principals of the North West 
Company. When they reached London they found that union had already 
been effected. Edward Ellice produced the deed poll signed by Governor 
Berens on behalf of the Hudson's Bay Company and by William McGil- 
livray, Simon McGillivray and Edward Ellice for the North West Com- 
pany. The deed poll had been executed March 26, 1821. This agreement 
formed the basis of the amalgamation until a new deed poll was executed 
June 6, 1834. 

The union was really a merger of the North West Company into the 
Hudson's Bay Company. The coalition continued the old name of "Gentle- 
men Adventurers trading into Hudson's Bay". The jurisdiction of the 
company was extended to include all the territory hitherto disputed by the 
North West Company. This jurisdiction was sanctioned by an Act of the 
British Parliament (1 & 2 Geo. IV, Ch. 66). This Act after relating the 
evil consequences of competition, the animosities, feuds, injury to Indians, 
breaches of the peace, the violence and losses of life, extended the juris- 
diction of the Courts of Upper and Lower Canada to the control and pun- 
ishment of persons guilty of crimes and offenses within Rupert's Land and 
the North Western Territory, and so removed all doubts respecting a simi- 
lar Act passed in 1803. The Act gave power to the Crown to grant a 
license to the Hudson's Bay Company for the exclusive privilege of trading 
for a period of not longer than twenty-one years. For the first period the 
license was rent free, but thereafter a rent was to be reserved and form 
part of the land revenues of the Crown. Power was also given to the 
Crown to constitute courts and issue commissions authorizing justices of 
the peace to hold Courts of Record within the North-West for any but capi- 
tal offenses and any civil actions where the amount in issue was under 200 
pounds. No such courts were ever established, and the only courts that 
grew up in the country were those formed by the Council of Assiniboia and 
the Grand Council of Rupert's Land. The Act also enjoined strict regu- 
lation and control of the liquor traffic among the Indians and in this 
respect, it may be said to the credit of the Hudson's Bay Company, that 
they honourably observed this part of their contract. 

Acting under the authority of this Act of Parliament, His Majesty 
granted an exclusive license dated June 6, 1821, in which the Company 
was required to give security in the sum of five thousand pounds for the 
due execution of the terms of the grant. 

"The deed poll made provision for the apportionment of the annual 
profits and loss of the fur trade. The first charge on the proceeds was 
a 5% interest payment on the capital, made annually to the proprietors. 
Of the net profits and losses 60% was reserved to the proprietors, the bal- 
ance went to the wintering partners. The share for the Gentlemen in the 
Interior was subdivided into 85 equal parts, of which two went to each 


chief factor and one to each chief trader. Under the deed poll of 1821 the 
partners were granted one year in every seven as furlough. On retirement 
the chief factor and chief traders became entitled to full profits according 
to their rank for one year and half profit for a period of six years." — 
(Publications of the Canadian Archives, No. 9, Vol. 1, p. 624.) 

By the second deed poll the same rate of remuneration was continued 
to the wintering partners. This deed poll continued in operation until 
1871, shortly after the transfer of the Hudson's Bay territory to the 
Dominion of Canada. By the terms of the deed poll of 1821 the follow- 
ing wintering partners were chosen from both sides : 

"Chief Factors — Thomas Vincent, John Thompson, John Macdonald, 
James Bird, James Leith, John Haldane, Colin Robertson, Alexander 
Stewart, James Sutherland, John George McTavish, John Clarke, George 
Keith, John Dugald Cameron, John Charles, John Stuart, Alexander Ken- 
nedy, Edward Smith, John McLoughlin, John Davis, James Keith, Joseph 
Beioley, Angus Bethune, Donald MacKenzie, Alexander Christie, John 

"Chief Traders — William McKintosh, Jacob Corrigal, Thomas Mc- 
Murray, Donald Mackintosh, John Peter Pruden, Allan Macdonnell, James 
Clouston, Daniel William Harmon, Roderic MacKenzie, John Spencer, 
Hugh Faries, John Lee Lewis, Andrew Stewart, James McMillan, Angus 
Cameron, John Warren Dease, William Brown, Simon McGillivray, Wil- 
liam Connolly, Robert McVicar, Peter Warren Dease, John McLeod, John 
Rowand, Joseph Felix La Rocque, Alexander McDonald, Alexander Rode- 
rick McLeod, Joseph McGillivray, Roderick Mackenzie." 

"Under the Deed Poll of 1821 the following Chief Traders were pro- 
moted to Chief Factors— 1822 William McKintosh; 1825, William Connolly 
and John Rowand; 1827, James McMillan; 1828, Allan Macdonnell, John 
Lee Lewis and Peter Warren Dease; 1830, Roderick Mackenzie; 1832, Dun- 
can Finlayson. The following were promoted from clerkships to the rank 
of Chief Traders: 1821, Peter Skene Ogden and Samuel Black; 1822, Alex- 
ander Fisher; 1827, Cuthbert Gumming; 1828, Francis Heron, John Sieve- 
wright, Robert S. Miles, Duncan Finlayson, Colin Campbell, Alexander 
McTavish, Archibald McDonald; 1829, Robert Cowie, John Edward Har- 
riott, Donald Ross; 1830, Aemilius Simpson and John Work; 1831, Wil- 
liam Todd ; 1833, James Hargreave and Nicol Finlayson." 

"During the period 1834-1843 the following promotions were made: 
Chief Factors— 1834, Peter Skene Ogden; 1836, John Peter Pruden and 
Alexander R. Macleod; 1838, Hugh Faries, Angus Cameron and Samuel 
Black; 1840, Donald Ross and James Douglas; 1842, Archibald McDonald, 

"Chief Traders — Richard Hardisty, John McLeod, Jr., Murdoch Mc- 
Pherson and John Tod ; 1835, James Douglas, Thomas Eraser, George Glad- 
man and Richard Grant; 1838, Donald Manson and William Nourse; 1840, 
Thomas Simpson, William H. McNeil, Peter C. Pambrun and George 
Barnston ; 1841, John Bell, Thomas Corcoran, Alexander Simpson and 


John McLean ; 1842, William G. Rae, John Swanston, Francis Ermatinger 
and Charles Ross ; 1843, John M. Yale." 

Nicolas Garry, one of the Governing Committee in London was sent 
out to reorganize the affairs of the amalgamating companies and dis- 
tribute the offices. A meeting for this purpose was held at Fort William in 
1821. Here the partners signed the Deed Poll. This meeting was a 
memorable one and carries the mind forward to a similar meeting when on 
June 23, 1870, the wintering partners of the Hudson's Bay Company gath- 
ered at Norway House to sign the deed of surrender of the vast empire 
over which they had governed for two hundred years with a true imperial 
sway. One can only imagine with what surpressed passion and with what 
memories, bitter opponents like Colin Robertson and John Clarke met Wil- 
liam Mcintosh and Simon McGillivray around the peace table that day at 
Fort William. When the North West Company delegates met Edward 
Ellice in London and read the Deed Poll for the first time, they bitterly 
exclaimed, "This is not amalgation, but is submersion". To a man, how- 
ever, they were good losers and loyally supported the union to the last. 
In the distribution of officers it is said the North West Company partners 
got the best districts and the best positions. Our readers will no doubt 
think this is fair, because on the whole the North West Company partners 
had the most experience in the Indian territories and probably were the 
most capable to carry on successful trading with the natives. Garry ap- 
parently conducted affairs with an eye single to the future success of the 
Hudson's Bay Company. 

On his own responsibility Garry assigned the posts as follows : 

(1) Athabaska Department, comprising Fort Chipewyan and posts 
on the Lake, Slave Lake and River, Peace River and New Caledonia — 
James Leith, Chief Factor; Chief of Department, Edward Smith, Chief 
Factor; William Mackintosh, Joseph McGillivray, Peter W. Dease, Hugh 
Faries, A. R. McLeod, Chief Traders. 

(2) Saskatchewan, James Sutherland, Chief Factor; John Rowand, 
Chief Trader. 

(3) New Caledonia, John Stewart, Chief Factor. 

(4) Cumberland House, William Kennedy, Chief Factor. 

(5) Columbia, John Haldane, J. D. Cameron, Chief Factors; James 
Macmillan, Chief Trader. 

(6) English River, James Keith, Chief Factor; J. F. La Roque, Chief 

(7) York Fort, J. M. McTavish, Chief Factor. 

(8) Moose Factory, Angus Bethune, Chief Factor. 

(9) Lesser Slave Lake, William Connolly, Chief Trader. 

(10) Red River, James Bird, Chief Factor. 

(11) Upper Red River, John McDonald, Chief Trader. 

(12) Fort Dauphin, Allan Macdonnell, Chief Trader. 

(13) Lake Winnipic, J. W. Dease, Chief Trader. 


(14) Lake Nipigon, Roderic McKenzie, Chief Trader. 

(15) Pic, Alexander McTavish, Clerk. 

(16) Michicopoton, Donald Mcintosh, Chief Trader. 

(17) Fort William, Alexander Stewart, Chief Trader. 

(18) Lake Huron, John McBean, Chief Factor. 

(19) River Winnipic, Thomas McMurray, Chief Trader. 

(20) Temiskaming, Angus Cameron, Chief Trader. 

(21) Churchill, John Charles, Chief Factor; John Lee Lewis, Chief 
Trader; A. Macdonnell, Clerk. — (Garry's Journal.) 

On the completion of these negotiations, Director Garry proceeded 
westward accompanied by Simon McGillivray, stopping at Rainy Lake, 
Winnipeg River, Red River and various points along the route, both 
exhorting the Indians that they should henceforth obey the Hudson's Bay 
Company. As a symbol of the union a new fort was built at the forks of 
the Red and Assiniboine rivers and named Fort Garry. Forts Douglas and 
Gibraltar were dismantled and passed into memory with the struggles of 
the past. 






The history of Alberta from 1821 to 1870 is the history of the fur 
trade. There was no settlement except a few retired Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany servants in the vicinity of Edmonton, who assisted the Company in 
the limited agriculture pursued at this post. The only centres of settlement 
in the whole North- West were within the old district of Assiniboia. Set- 
tlement advanced in the Red River and the buffalo became scarce in that 
region. The Cree and Assiniboine Indians followed them westward to 
the Plains of Saskatchewan and Alberta. War betw^een the Blackfeet 
nations and the invaders became frequent and made settlement impossible. 
Apart from the Minutes of the Hudson's Bay Company, and the meagre 
references in the books and diaries of travellers, such as Gabriel Fran- 
chere, Ross Cox, Alexander Ross, Paul Kane, Milton and Cheadle, South- 
esk and Butler, there are few records available. Of course there was 
very little to record. It was not until the Canadian Government sent S. J. 
Dawson and Henry Yuill Hind to the North- West in 1857 that the people 
of the eastern portion of the Dominion began to learn of the resources of 
the North-West and its suitability for colonization and agriculture. The 
reports of these eminent men made a profound impression in Canada and 
as soon as Confederation was consummated the eyes of the Dominion were 
turned to the west and active steps were inaugurated to annex the Empire 
ruled over by the Hudson's Bay Company. The facts of this chapter will, 
therefore, deal with the activities of the great fur trading corporation; 
only indirect reference will be made to the relations of the Company to 
the growing colony at Red River. Although this was the storm centre of 
the period and the events that took place there led to the surrender of 
the Hudson's Bay Charter, it properly belongs to the history of Mani- 
toba and has been well told in other works on the North-West. 

After the coalition the territories of the new company were organ- 
ized into four departments — The Montreal, Southern, Western and North- 
ern. The Montreal had control of the fur trade in the Canadas and 
Labrador. The Southern Department embraced the territory between the 
Hudson's Bay and the Montreal Department. The Western Department 
included all the territory west of the Rocky Mountains. The Northern 
Department, the one in which we are now concerned, included the vast 




district lying- between the Hudson's Bay and the Rocky Mountains and 
between the United States and the Arctic Ocean. It was the largest and 
the most important of the four. The government of these territories was 
entrusted to the Council of Rupert's Land which was composed of all the 
Chief Factors. These officers attended ex-officio while the chief traders 
were generally invited to attend the meetings of the Council and when 
so attending they had the same right to discuss and vote as the Chief 
Factors in all matters except the promotion of officers. The Chief Execu- 
tive officer was called the Governor of Rupert's Land. This Council must 
be carefully distinguished from the Council of the Assiniboia which was 
the body that ruled over that part of the Hudson's Bay Territory granted 
in 1811 to Lord Selkirk. It was subordinate to the Grand Council of 
Rupert's Land and many of its decisions and enactments were over-ruled 
by the superior council. In fact the governmental organization of the 
west at this time suggests to us the analogy that exists between the Fed- 
eral and Provincial governing bodies in Canada at the present time. 

We get a good idea of the work of the Council of Rupert's Land from 
the testimony of Edward Ellice in his evidence before the Parliamentary 
Committee of 1857 in the following statement: 

"A Council is composed, in the interior, of the Chief Factors, the high- 
er class, which meets every year. It has met at different places but it 
meets generally at the Red River. The trade is directed, first of all, by 
the Board of Directors at home, but, like the East India Company, they 
have their Council in the interior, which regulates the local concerns of 
the Company. That Council, which meets every year, takes into consid- 
eration the accounts of the preceding year, audits the ensuing year's trade, 
stations the various servants of the Company at such posts as the Council 
may think they are best qualified to occupy, and if vacancies occur in the 
service, recommends to the directors at home the fit persons then being 
in the service to succeed to those vacancies. So that, in fact, the whole 
affairs of the Company, so far as the fur trade is concerned, are conducted 
by that Council, subject to the control and superintendence of the Board 
of Directors at home. . . . The Council consists of as many as can 
conveniently assemble, who act for the whole body. . . . All appoint- 
ments are made by the Government at home ; the Council only recommend. 
. . . They have no power, except with the consent and concurrence 
of the Board at home." Q. 5793. 

The Minutes of the Meetings of this Council is the official history of 
the North-West for 50 years. These with the standing rules and regula- 
tions comprised the legal and commercial system of the land. A great 
many of these minutes have never been published, but we are fortunate 
in having the minutes from 1830 to 1843 printed by the Canadian Arch- 
ives, Publication No. 9, edited by Professor E. H. Oliver of the University 
of Saskatchewan. An introduction to the Minutes written by Mr. Isaac 
Cowie, formerly a Commissioned officer of the Hudson's Bay Company, 


is reproduced here because it presents a splendid bird's eye view of the 
work of the Council for the period under review. 

"The data contained in these minutes furnish a skeleton history, dur- 
ing that important period, of those parts of the old 'Hudson's Bay Ter- 
ritories,' held under both Royal Charter and License, in the countries now 
comprising New Ontario, the three Prairie Provinces, the North West 
and Yukon Territories, and the Province of British Columbia, besides 
throwing light upon the operations of the Company in Russian America 
and in the States of Washington, Oregon and California, also in the 
Sandwich Isles. 

"The main purpose of these annual meetings was to receive reports 
upon the operations of the previous year and to make arrangements for 
carrying on trade during the next, and, often, for many future years. 
Following the waterways, the chief means of communication in a coun- 
try so favoured by nature in that respect, and, when these were inter- 
rupted, the lines of least resistance overland, pointed out by the tracks of 
wild animals and the trails and portages of the Indians, they solved the 
greatest problem set before them and their chief difficulty, in a land of 
magnificent distances, by means of the birch bark canoe, the 'inland' boat, 
and the main strength and skill of the voyageurs who manned them. The 
feats performed by these men in the battle with the wilderness and in the 
fight against immense distances have never been surpassed, if ever 
equalled. And the wise men who sat in Council and planned these cam- 
paigns in transportation so admirably a year or years in advance, so that 
'brigades' starting from places as far apart as the lower Mackenzie River 
and from Red River District : and others from Fort Vancouver, at the 
mouth of the Columbia, and from York Factory on Hudson's Bay, were 
so nicely timed to meet at fixed points and exchange freight and passen- 
gers that they rarely failed to connect on schedule time. And this in a 
time when swift mail and telegraphic communication did not exist. 

"The same wise foresight which regulated their system of transpor- 
tation was displayed in every other detail of their business as traders. 
The interests of the fur trade were paramount; indeed fur was the only 
exportable product of the country before the railway age, and affected 
the life of every one in the Territories, including the settlers upon the 
Red River. There Thomas, fifth Earl of Selkirk, had made an attempt 
to found a colony, in opposition alike to the opinions of his enemies of 
the North West Company and of his friends of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany. But, upon the cessation of hostilities between these rivals, when 
they became a united company, the old plan of the North Westers to form 
a settlement on the Rainy River for their retired servants (from which 
possibly may have originated Selkirk's subsequent colonizing idea) was 
carried out on the Red River, where their supernumeraries and those of 
the Hudson's Bay Company came to the number of 1,500, far exceeding 
all the settlers ever brought 'under the auspices of the Earl of Selkirk.' 


Hence Sir George Simpson, in his journey round the world, states that 
the real settlement on the Red River began in 1821, when the union of 
the Companies led to the disbandment of their forces, many of these re- 
tiring to become settlers on the Red River, provided with means to start 
and experience in the country, including, in many cases, that gained by 
raising crops at the trading posts, where these were necessary to eke 
out the uncertain produce of the chase and fishery. 

"It was only natural that a settlement composed chiefly of men who 
had served with them as companions in the wilds should be viewed with 
favour by the Councillors of Rupert's Land, many of whom contemplated 
spending the evening of their days, with their native children, surrounded 
by the comforts and conveniences afforded at Red River ; where, more- 
over, the company's employees were each entitled 'for past services' to 
receive free grants of land out of the one-tenth reserved for that purpose 
in the original grant to Selkirk. Consequently the Minutes record from 
time to time the grant of money and allowances of imported 'luxuries' 
(as they were called in that time of expensive and difficult transportation) 
consisting of tea, sugar, rice, raisins, wines and liquors, to the Mission- 
aries in the Colony ; funds in aid of public works ; and the establishment 
of experimental farms, for which fine live stock was imported. 

"Besides being a convention on the business of the fur trade, the Gov- 
ernor and Council of the Northern Department of Rupert's Land (which 
exercised control over the minor Councils of the Southern and Montreal 
departments — in what are now the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec — 
as well as those of Columbia and New Caledonia beyond the Rocky Moun- 
tains) had, under the Royal Charter, power to make laws and act in a ju- 
dicial capacity for and in the chartered territories. In these the only 
other legislative and executive Council was that of the Municipality of 
Assiniboia, which was composed of that portion of the great District of 
Assiniboia, granted to Lord Selkirk, extending fifty miles from the Forks 
down by the Red and up along the Red and Assiniboine rivers, and two 
miles back on each side of these rivers. 

"In its legislative capacity the Northern Department Council was su- 
preme over that of Assiniboia, whose enactments were on occasion dis- 
allowed by it, in fact the two councils stood in nearly similar relations 
as do the Dominion Parliament and Provincial Legislatures today. When 
the Governor of Rupert's Land was present the Governor of Assiniboia 
left the chair and became one of the Council. When a Chief Factor from 
another part of the territories visited Red River he, as a Councillor of 
Rupert's Land, took a seat by right as such in the Council of Assini- 
boia ; but a Councillor of Assiniboia had no seat or right in the Council 
of Rupert's Land. 

"During the early period when the Governors of Assiniboia were the 
nominees and agents of Selkirk, but appointed as Governors by the Com- 
pany under their charter, much friction arose between such Governors 


and the Chief Factors and Councillors of Rupert's Land who were in com- 
mand of the fur trading 'Red River District.' But, afterwards, when the 
officer in charge of the 'Red River District' became ex-officio the Governor 
of Assiniboia also, this source of trouble ceased, and no Council of 
Assiniboia so presided over was likely to enact any regulation which the 
Governor knew would be objected to by the Council of the Northern 
Department of Rupert's Land, or the Governor and Committee in London. 
On this limitation reference may be made to the 'Report of the Law 
Amendment Committee' submitted to the Council of Assiniboia by Re- 
corder Thom in May, 1851, which says : 

" 'Our local legislature owes allegiance to the Governor and Council 
of Rupert's Land . . . and has no right to control any one of the 
Company's chartered powers.' 

"To review or even briefly summarize all the acts of the Council of 
the Northern Department would require space not available in this publi- 
cation. But from a rough general index the following headings to sub- 
jects of probable interest to the reader and student are taken : From 
Standing Rules and Regulations — Sale Tariff of Merchandise, Buffalo 
Robes and Leather to Settlers. Freight rates to and from York Factory. 
Freight and Passenger Rates on Ocean — to and from Hudson's Bay and 
Fort Vancouver (at end of series of Minutes). In the Minutes of each 
year would be found money grants for Red River gaol and police; to 
surgeons, surveyors, schools and clergymen; orders for colonial produce 
required by the Fur Trade, and prices to be paid therefor; regulation re. 
imports by settlers from England; engagement and wages of boatmen; 
freight rates by Company's boats ; employment of boats owned by settlers 
to freight to and from York Factory; the employment of Indians from 
outside the settlement to man such contractors' boats prohibited ; and the 
establishment of Lower Fort Garry, the post at Portage la Prairie, and 
the Experimental Farms presided over by Chief Factor McMillan and 
Captain Gary. 

"Outside of the colony, grants were given to Wesleyan Missions at 
York Factory, Norway House and Edmonton, and to the Roman Catholic 
mission on the Columbia. The making of a winter road, between the head 
of the tracking ground on Hayes' River and Norway House, was persisted 
in for several years, but was finally abandoned as more expensive than 
boating. Besides the regular mails by annual ship, summer brigades and 
winter expresses, one to Canada by Fort William and Saulte Ste. Marie, 
and another to St. Peters (near St. Paul, Minn.) were established. The 
sale of spirituous liquors to Indians was prohibited throughout the coun- 
try, except at points where the fur trade was exposed to competition with 
American spirit dealers. Resolutions were yearly passed confirming the 
Standing Rule for the preservation of the beaver, and hmiting the output 
of their skins from depleted districts. The Indians were to be compen- 
sated for abstaining from hunting these animals. By Standing Rule No. 


38 the Company's employees were enjoined always to treat the Indians 
with kindness and humanity, and to invite them to attend the Sunday 
services, which the commandant of each post was directed to read by 
Rule No. 1. Annual lists of the Indians attached to each post were to be 
sent to headquarters, and a General Census was taken in 1837. 

"One of the most interesting features of the Minutes to their descend- 
ants and other friends living in the North-West is the names, ranks, 
movements and emoluments of the Company's Chief Factors, Chief Trad- 
ers, Clerks and Postmasters given from year to year. These are all of 
historical, and occasionally of legal value. 

"The Company's activities covered a wide range of subjects, from 
meteorological observations and zoological collections for the British Mu- 
seum, to general banking and receiving employees' savings on deposit at 
interest. But it is impossible within the allotted space to do justice to all 
the subjects mentioned in the Minutes ; neither is it possible for one who 
has not derived his knowledge from other sources to read between the 
lines of the resolutions for the causes of which the resolutions were the 

"Each Council was opened with the reading of the General Letter of 
the Governor, Deputy Governor and Committee (who subscribed them- 
selves as 'Your Affectionate Friends to their trusty and well beloved part- 
ners in the Fur Trade') — the Chief Factors and Chief Traders. In the 
absence of copies of these letters and of the reports made annually to the 
• Council by each officer in charge of a district, it is impossible to fully 
understand the resultant resolutions of this Council. All such documents 
are still kept private by the Company, although the time is long past when 
their publication could do any harm to their trade by divulging its secrets. 
Indeed, judging from the highly creditable exposure made by these Min- 
utes of their mode of doing business and the laudable interest taken in 
the general well-being of their territories, the publication of these well 
preserved records would only redound to the credit of the Company's rule 
and to the confusion of their detractors. For it must be noted that the 
Minutes here for the first time published, were never" intended when they 
were recorded for the eyes of the outside public, although each district 
and commissioned officer was entitled to a copy for their use and guid- 
ance. Few of the Chief Factors and Chief Traders, however, took pre- 
cautions for the preservation of their copies, and we are indebted for 
these important revelations to the care of an exception to this rule, who 
handed them down to his children, who unlike too many others into whose 
hands such documents have fallen, have carefully preserved them. 

"But they cover only a limited, though glorious, period in the history 
of that great company, whose officers and men in North America, serving 
with conspicuous 'courage and fidelity' succeeded by their effective occu- 
pation of the territories in preserving them for the British Crown until 
their union with Canada." 



The patriarchal dictator who carried the Union into effect and admin- 
istered the affairs of the new empire of the Hudson's Bay Company for 
40 years was a young man who had spent but one year in the country. 
George Simpson came to the Athabaska District in 1821. He did not im- 
press either Hudson's Bay Company men or Nor'Westers of that region 
with any knowledge of the fur trade, but, raised to the position of Gov- 
ernor of Rupert's Land, he at once exhibited a statesmanlike grasp of his 
duties. He was an excellent judge of men, a born diplomat, a most capa- 
ble executive officer. He will always rank as one of the great founders 
of the empire of the North, on the American Continent. With Selkirk, 
Simpson stands out as one of the two most notable men of North- West 
history of the nineteenth century. Both were tinged with feudalism, one 
with the aim of developing a lucrative trade and harvesting rich divi- 
dends for his overlords ; the other was resolved to plant the land system 
of the Old World in the New. Both had high and laudable motives for 
the welfare of those they governed. Selkirk did not live long enough to 
see the fulfilment of such a paternalistic policy and one cannot imagine 
Sir George Simpson's vigorous mind not foreseeing that the Hudson's Bay 
Company system was doomed to extinction. But Selkirk had the greater 
idea and will always be regarded as the greater of these two illustrious 

One of the first acts of the Council of Rupert's Land was to make a 
survey of the various posts of the two companies. Those that had been 
maintained for mere competition, as well as those which had proved un- 
profitable, were abandoned. Bow River Fort at the foot of the Rocky 
Mountains, after a brief existence, was abandoned in 1823, and Pembina 
the year before. Chesterfield House at the Red Deer forks was rebuilt in 
1822 by Donald Mackenzie but abandoned some years later on account of 
the implacable hostility of the Blackfeet. Simpson kept himself thorough- 
ly informed of the details of the fur trade and visited the various posts 
from time to time. The methods of transportation were investigated, 
York Boats were adopted and a thorough reorganization effected by this 
masterful administrator. 

The reduction of the number of posts threw many servants and em- 
ployees of the old companies out of employment. This question engaged 



the attention of the Council at its meeting of 1822. The Committee in 
London expressed extreme concern about the welfare of those discharged 
and of the numerous half breed children whose parents had died or had 
deserted them. "It will be prudent and economical," ran the instructions 
of the Committee to the Council of Rupert's Land, "to incur some expense 
in placing these people where they may maintain themselves and be civil- 
ized and instructed in religion." To meet the problem the company made 
grants of land upon a special form of tenure, which was really a lease for 
1000 years at a peppercorn rent. There were, however, important stipu- 
lations upon which the lease depended. The tenant covenanted not to 
trade in fur or distil liquor or spirits, and he further covenanted to pre- 
serve peace, repel foreign aggression, repair roads and bridges and pro- 
mote general education and religious instruction. Nor did the tenant 
have the right to sell or sublet his holding without the consent of the 
company. Though these were the terms of settlement. Sir George Simp- 
son testified before the Parliamentary Committee in 1857 that none of 
the covenants except the prohibition in regard to fur, was ever rigidly 
enforced. It was, however, the presence of such restrictions that gave 
rise in the last years of the company's regime, to opposition to their Char- 
ter. It is no criticism of Simpson and his officials that such a system was 
unsuited to the conditions of the New World ; that any attempt to revive 
the land system of the Norman and Angevin kings on the Plains of the 
North-West was foredoomed to failure. They attempted to reconcile two 
opposing policies, — the promotion of colonization and the maintenance of 
the fur trade. It can be said on behalf of the company that they did as 
well as could be done under the system and they left behind an honourable 
record of just and benevolent dealings with the native population and in 
support of missionaries and schools for their advancement. Sir George 
Simpson was subjected to a gruelling cross-examination at the British 
Parliamentary Inquiry in 1857, but on the whole he was able to make a 
good case for the company. We may conclude that it was not the ability 
alone of the young Scotch accountant, who had spent 37 years in the 
wilds of the North-West, that enabled him to fence so successfully with 
antagonists like Roebuck and Gladstone. The record of the Hudson's Bay 
Company and the manner in which they exercised their regal powers were 
also important factors in the case. 

It was the policy of the company to have all their retired employees 
settle at Red River and to make no grants outside of that part of Rupert's 
Land. The reason given was that the settlers would be more easily af- 
forded the means of education and religion. Already there was a Roman 
Catholic mission at Red River and an orphanage and Protestant school 
under the Rev. Mr. West. This may have been an extreme policy but it is 
no more so than the opposite policy of settling the North-West in scat- 
tered and thinly populated communities from the Red River to the Peace, 
and thus throwing a premature burden on the Government to provide 


roads, railways and civil institutions, but such are the wasteful but popu- 
lar methods of democracy. It will be seen, therefore, that outside the 
District of Assiniboia there was nothing but the fur trade, and this ex- 
plains why settlement was so late beginning in Alberta. 

During this period the Province of Alberta was included in the Sas- 
katchewan and Athabaska districts of the northern department. By 1830 
the principal posts in the Saskatchewan District were Fort Edmonton 
and Fort Carlton. The reader will remember that Fort Edmonton, along 
with new Fort Augustus, had been abandoned in 1810. It was not until 
1819 that the post was reestablished as Fort Edmonton, which has re- 
mained the metropolis of the Saskatchewan Valley ever since and the 
strategic commercial centre of the Far West. By the arrangements of 
1821 James Sutherland, who built the first post of this name, became Chief 
Factor. John Rowand was now in charge with twelve men, having succeed- 
ed C. F. Sutherland in 1825 and J. P. Pruden was Chief Factor at Carlton 
with eight men. Other posts in the district and the officers in charge were : 
Fort Pitt on the Saskatchewan, built in 1831, Peter Small, clerk; Fort 
Assiniboine on the Athabaska, built in 1825, Richard Grant, clerk ; Rocky 
Mountain House on the Saskatchewan, Henry Fisher, clerk; Jasper's 
House on the Athabaska, Michael Clyne, postmaster; Lesser Slave Lake, 
George Linton, clerk. Edmonton was becoming an important point in 
the transportation system of the country. The company maintained a 
large number of horses and dogs at Fort Edmonton for the conveyance 
of goods by pack train and dog sleighs to Fort Assiniboine where suitable 
craft was held in readiness for transport to the mountains and the Colum- 
bia District through the Athabaska Pass. As many as 800 horses were 
kept at one time for this purpose. The horse guard for Fort Edmonton 
was situated a few miles northeast of the city at the point now known 
as the Horse Hills. 

John Charles and Colin Campbell had charge of Athabaska. Simon 
McGillivray was at Great Slave Lake, but was now under orders to pro- 
ceed to the Columbia District to cooperate with Chief Factor John Mc- 
Loughlin. Chipewyan, under Chief Factor Charles; Dunvegan, under 
Chief Trader Campbell ; Vermilion, under Paul Eraser, clerk, and Great 
Slave under George McDougall, clerk, were flourishing posts. The out- 
fit for the district consisted of four boats, 29 men and 220 pieces of mer- 
chandise. Dunvegan was a very busy place, maintaining the reputation 
Harmon gave it in 1808. The gentlemen in charge were ordered by the 
Grand Council at Norway House to prepare for shipment to New Cale- 
donia via Peace River in August of every year the following supplies: 
650 dressed moose skins, 100 babiche snares and beaver nets, 2000 
fathoms of pack cords and 500 kegs of grease. At Fort Simpson Chief 
Factor Edward Small was in command of the Mackenzie District with 
M. McPherson, C. Brisbois, John Bell and J. Hutchison as clerks at Forts 
Riviere au Liards, Norman, Good Hope and Halkett, respectively, assisted 


by two or three men at each post. The annual outfit for the district con- 
sisted of about 300 pieces. 

In 1832 we find a new post established near the 49th parallel of lati- 
tude called Piegan Post under Chief Trader J. E. Harriott to attract the 
Piegans and to prevent the American Indians from frequenting the Com- 
pany's posts on the Saskatchewan. This post seems to have had but a 
temporary existence, and though Rocky Mountain House was temporarily 
abandoned, we find by the winter of 1835 it was flourishing, with an im- 
portant officer in charge. Fort Pitt was also abandoned for a time on 
account of the danger of war parties of Crees and Blackfeet in that region. 
In order to meet Russian competition across the mountains, the company 
sent Chief Trader John Macleod in 1834 to take possession of Northern 
British Columbia and what is now the Yukon Territory and Alaska. He 
ascended the Liard River above Fort Halkett, crossed the mountains and 
reached Dease's Lake and what he called the Pelly River, but which was 
in reality the Stikine. Two years later J. Hutchison was directed to move 
Fort Halkett to Dease's Lake and establish a post 200 miles from the 
Height of Land. The expedition failed. In 1837 the Council accepted 
the spirited offer of Robert Campbell, a clerk stationed at Fort Simpson, 
to pursue the exploration work west of the mountains. With a half breed 
and two Indian lads, Campbell ascended the Liard, crossed the Height of 
Land and discovered that Macleod's Pelly River was the Stikine. He re- 
turned to Dease's Lake and passed the winter there (1838-39). In May, 
1840, Campbell left Fort Halkett and ascended the Liard to Francis Lake 
(so named in honour of Lady Simpson) up Finlayson River and Lake, 
crossed the Divide and discovered the real Pelly River. In 1842 Fort 
Pelly Banks was built and Campbell established Fort Selkirk at the junc- 
tion of the Pelly and the Lewes in 1848. Farther north the Hudson's Bay 
traders entered the country by the Porcupine River. In 1840 Chief 
Trader McPherson opened the post that bears his name on Peel's River. 
In 1842 John Bell went down the Porcupine a few miles. In 1846 while 
in charge of Fort McPherson he descended the river to its junction with 
the Yukon, where next year A. H. Murray established Fort Yukon which 
continued to be a Hudson's Bay post until the purchase of Alaska by the 
United States, from Russia. Campbell completed the exploration of the 
Pelly-Yukon water system in 1850. He descended the Pelly to Fort Sel- 
kirk, thence to Fort Yukon, up the Porcupine, crossed to Peel's River and 
up the Mackenzie to Fort Simpson again. 

We have seen that one of the results of the opposition between the old 
companies was the rapid depletion of the beaver. The use of traps and 
castoreum by the Iroquois hunters imported by the North West Com- 
pany about 1800, greatly reduced the number of beavers. After the Union 
the Hudson's Bay Company did its best to preserve these valuable fur 
bearing animals. The number taken in each district was restricted as 
nearly as possible to the number set at the Annual Meeting of the Council. 









In 1830 the number in Saskatchewan district was limited to 5,500 and in 
the Athabaska district to 5,000. These were the two greatest fur bearing 
districts in the whole North-West. By 1840 it was necessary to further 
curtail the catch of beaver. The company issued instructions to discour- 
age the taking of beaver. At some posts the number taken was reduced 
by half while at other posts the taking of beaver was entirely prohibited. 

During the last years of Sir George Simpson, a new generation of 
factors, traders and clerks were rising to prominence in the fur trade. 
Already we have noticed that in 1837 Robert Campbell was fired with the 
exploring zeal of Alexander Mackenzie and David Thompson. Chief Fac- 
tor John Anderson was now in command of the Mackenzie district and 
loyally held to the traditions of Simon McGillivray, William McGillivray 
and the Gentlemen Adventurers. He also had the courage and hardihood 
of the pathfinder, for we shall find him later leading an Expedition on 
behalf of the Hudson's Bay Company to search for relics of Franklin. 
Other men who entered the service about this time were William J. Chris- 
tie, Richard Hardisty, William Sinclair, H. J. Moberly, Roderick McFar- 
lane and James Allan Grahame, all of whom became prominent in the 
affairs of the company in Alberta. Chief Factor Christie was the son of 
Alexander Christie, twice governor of Assiniboia and builder of Fort 
Garry. He was educated in Scotland and became Chief Factor at Edmon- 
ton after John Rowand, holding the position until 1872 when he became 
Inspecting Chief Factor for the Saskatchewan and Athabaska posts. He 
was also one of the members of the first North-West Council. Richard 
Hardisty became Chief Factor at Edmonton in 1872 and later became the 
first Senator from Alberta. 

Sir George Simpson died in 1860 and was succeeded by Governor 
Dallas, who continued in that position until the transfer of Rupert's Land 
to the Government of Canada. With Simpson passed the old Hudson's 
Bay Company. Under his successors the Company has emerged into a 
great modern trading corporation that has spread its activities over the 
whole empire of the Gentlemen Adventurers, meeting competition with 
the same resourcefulness and invincible organization that it bore against 
the Nor'Westers a century ago. 

Before dealing with the events that led up to the transfer of the Hud- 
son's Bay Territory to the Dominion of Canada, it will doubtless be inter- 
esting to the reader to learn something of the internal economy of a Hud- 
son's Bay post during the latter days of the Company's regime. Vege- 
tables and cereals were grown at almost every post in the Province. The 
store of provisions was distributed with great care to the officers and men 
according to fixed rules. 

Chief Factor H, J, Moberly, in his "Reminiscences of a Hudson's Bay 
Company Factor," recently written, gives us the details of rationing the 
supplies at Lac la Biche in 1856, as follows: 

"At the post the allowance of provisions for the winter was on the 


following scale: To a chief factor, three hundred pounds of flour, three 
hundred and thirty-six pounds of sugar, eighteen pounds of black tea, 
nine pounds of green tea, forty-two pounds of raisins, sixty pounds of 
butter, thirty pounds of candles, three pounds of mustard, and sixteen 
gallons of port, sherry and brandy or shrub. These provisions were put in 
two gallon kegs, four of which were laced together and called a maccaron. 
Rice, pepper, pimento were added, with fifteen pounds of chocolate. 

"A chief trader received half the quantity, and a chief clerk half as 
much as a chief trader. 

"This was the winter allowance, but besides this the ofllicer in charge 
of the brigade on the annual trip to York Factory, with the clerks who 
accompanied him, got a voyage allowance. The chief factor's portion was 
one maccaron of biscuit, ham, tea, sugar, chocolate, salted tongues, butter 
and flour. The clerks got half a maccaron and each man could take what 
he preferred of the four beverages. 

"The officer in charge of the district also got an extra allowance of 
flour, hams and drinkables, which was called 'strangers' mess allowance', 
as he had to entertain many visitors. The best parts of the fresh meats 
were always reserved for the officers' mess, and the supply was ad libitum. 

"The postmasters were old and deserving servants who were now ex- 
empted from boat work and almost every other hard work and were never 
placed in charge of important posts. They received wages of forty pounds 
sterling, with an allowance for the season of thirty-two pounds of sugar, 
three pounds of black tea, and one and a half of green, seven pounds of 
rice, half a pound of pepper and half a pound of pimento. 

"The meat rations were weighed out each evening to the postmasters 
and servants of the prairie posts, each man receiving eight pounds of 
fresh meat, or two and a half pounds of pemmican or three pounds of 
dried meat. 

"One whitefish was the allowance to each woman, half of a whitefish 
to each child, if the fish were obtainable, otherwise the woman received 
half a man's allowance of meat, the child one quarter. Train dogs got 
two fish, or four pounds of fresh meat each. 

"A record of the provisions stocked, with their weight or quantities, 
was entered as they were received in the 'Provision Book,' in which also 
were entered the allowances as they were given out. A glance at this book, 
therefore, would show the officer in charge what amount of 'grub' he had 
on hand at any one moment. 

"Each post had also to keep a diary of the weather, work done, annual 
departures, births, deaths, marriages and all other events. 

"Many of these diaries have been lost or destroyed, but one by one they 
come to light. Many of them have been collected and sent to the London 
or to the Winnipeg headquarters of the company. They are intensely in- 
teresting and human documents, recording with meticulous care the local 


events of the day and such bits of world news as reached the posts from 
time to time." 

After the transfer of Rupert's Land to Canada and the reorganization 
of the Hudson's Bay Company, advances to Indians were discontinued, 
a practice followed since the beginning of the fur trade. The action was 
greatly resented by the Indians. No posts had been opened on the South 
Saskatchewan River since the abandonment of Bow River Fort and Ches- 
terfield House in the late '30s. The nearest post to South Saskatchewan 
was Last Mountain, an outpost of Fort Qu'Appelle. The spread of the 
half breeds westward following the buffalo, a migration that steadily in- 
creased for many years, rendered necessary a post or two farther west, 
naturally on the Saskatchewan River. The proposed points were at 
Vermilion Hills and at the old site of Chesterfield House, the former for 
the Qu'Appelle, Crees and Stoneys, the latter for the Blackfeet. Before 
the Hudson's Bay Company could make up their minds to build these 
posts, the firm of I. G. Baker and other American traders from Fort Benton 
invaded Southern Alberta and established several forts : Whoop-Up, Stand- 
off, and Fort Kipp. The I. G. Baker Company became the first great rival 
of the Hudson's Bay Company in Alberta, and continued so until the 
Hudson's Bay Company purchased the I. G. Baker posts in 1892. But an 
enumeration of the principal posts of the company in operation at the time 
of the transfer (1870) in the Province of Alberta and the District of 
Athabasca shows that in the North the Hudson's Bay traders occupied 
every strategic point for trading with the various Indian tribes. The list 
is as follows : Edmonton, Victoria, St. Paul, Battle River, Whitefish Lake, 
Lac la Biche, Chippewyan, Vermilion, Lac St. Anne, Lac la Nonne, St. 
Albert, Pigeon Lake, Old White Mud Fork, Salt River, Fond du Lac, St. 
John, Red River on the Peace, forks of the Athabasca River (Fort Mc- 
Murray) and Forth Smith. 

Opposition to the Hudson's Bay Company's rule slowly developed in 
the District of Assiniboia. The prohibition against dealing in furs cre- 
ated many agitators for free trade. Private importation of supplies was 
permitted and facilitated by the Governor of Assiniboia until the new 
traders were guilty of profiteering. The company then stepped in and 
by keeping a larger stock of goods and selling at cheaper rates, captured 
the business from the independent traders. This, of course, created a new 
grievance and the company was charged with operating a monopoly in 
merchandise as well as in fur. Though acting within the powers of the 
Charter many of the acts of the company appear harsh to the ordinary 
citizen and trader. The company sternly repressed trade in furs and 
searched private houses and stores for traces of the traffic. Private trad- 
ers were arrested but public opinion in the colony was mainly opposed to 
such measures. The renewal of the company's license in 1838 served to 
increase the opposition to the big corporation and from this date onward 
the position of the Governor of Rupert's Land, particularly the Governor 


of Assiniboia, was no sinecure. In 1847 a petition was presented to the 
Colonial Secretary on behalf of the people of Rupert's Land and in 1849 
the British House of Commons passed an address to the Queen praying 
for an enquiry into the legality of the Hudson's Bay Company's claims 
under the Charter. The Company prepared a reply of conspicuous ability. 
The statement was approved by the law officers of the Crown who ex- 
pressed the opinion that the only authoritative way to settle such an im- 
portant question was a reference to the Judicial Committee of the Privy 
Council. The parties who presented the Petition above mentioned were 
requested to appear before the Privy Council in the case, but they de- 
clined the responsibility. 

Soon a new antagonist entered the field. In 1857 the Canadian Gov- 
ernment laid claim to a portion of the Hudson's Bay Territory lying west 
of the old Province of Canada and sent a despatch embodying this claim 
to the Colonial Secretary. The despatch was referred to the law officers 
of the Crown. The law officers gave an elaborate opinion in the course 
of which they stated : "The Charter could not be considered apart from 
its existence for nearly two centuries and nothing could be more unjust 
than to try this Charter as a thing of yesterday," They held that the 
Crown could not with justice question the validity of the Charter nor the 
Company's territorial ownership of the land granted to it, but subject to 
certain qualifications they thought that exclusive rights of government or 
monopoly of trade could not be insisted on by the Company as having 
been granted by the Crown, although it did possess limited powers to 
pass ordinances and exercise civil and criminal jurisdiction. 

The period of the second license of twenty-one years had now but two 
years to run. The British Government, therefore, in view of the opposi- 
tion to the Company in Canada and within the boundaries of Rupert's 
Land itself, referred the whole question to a select committee to consider 
the state of the British Possessions in North America, which were under 
the administration of the Hudson's Bay Company, over which they pos- 
sessed a license to trade. Many notable witnesses were examined, among 
them Sir George Simpson, Lt. Col. Lefroy, Dr. John Rae, Sir John Rich- 
ardson, Chief Justice Draper of Upper Canada, Bishop Anderson and the 
Rt. Hon. Edw. Ellice. Much evidence was taken. The members of the 
Parliamentary Committee comprised some of the ablest men in the House 
of Commons: — the Rt. Hon. Labouchere, Lord John Russell, Mr. Glad- 
stone and Mr. Adderley, Mr. Roebuck, Lord Stanley. Canada sent Chief 
Justice Draper to watch the proceedings on behalf of Canada. 

We cannot pass the encomiums of the report as others have done. 
Notwithstanding the brilliancy and the ability of the cross examiners of 
the Committee, their want of familiarity with the life, history and re- 
sources of the North-West enabled Simpson and Ellice to make out a very 
good case for the Company. On each side Simpson and Draper were the 
star witnesses. The report of the Committee was, of course, a foregone 


conclusion. The monopoly of a Stuart king granted in 1670 could not 
pass muster in 1857 in a Parliament elected on Lord Grey's Reform Bill 
of 1832. The Committee reported against the renewal of the license and 
advised an equitable extinction of the Hudson's Bay Charter over Ru- 
pert's Land. It recognized the legitimate ambitions of Canada to extend 
her boundaries and annex the Red River and Saskatchewan districts, and 
advised the separation of Vancouver Island from the rule of the Com- 
pany. In those regions of the Indian Territory and Rupert's Land where 
there was no prospect of settlement, the Committee, recognizing the fit- 
ness of the Company to govern such territories, declared it was desirable 
that they continue in the hands of the Hudson's Bay Company. The re- 
port is a splendid document and reflects from every paragraph the fine 
sense of justice, in balancing prescription with necessary reform, that 
distinguishes the deliberations of the Mother of Parliaments. 

As a result of the Committee's report the license was not renewed 
in 1859 but its chartered rights were still intact and things were left in 
the air. The Canadian Government desired to acquire the regions speci- 
fied in the Committee's report, but how was it to be done? Proposals and 
counter-proposals were made by the Imperial Government, by the Gov- 
ernment of Canada and by the Hudson's Bay Company. Even powerful 
private interests bestirred themselves. A syndicate of Anglo-American 
capitalists wanted large tracts of the country in the Red River and Sas- 
katchewan valleys for colonization purposes. Another syndicate offered 
to open up communication with the North-West by a canal from the 
Ottawa River to Lake Huron for a grant of 40,000,000 acres in the neigh- 
borhood of the Saskatchewan Valley. Such proposals were strongly op- 
posed by the Canadian Government and a protest was lodged in 1866 on 
behalf of Canada with the Colonial Secretary against any scheme of pri- 
vate exploitation, stoutly maintaining at the same time that the Hudson's 
Bay Company had no right to dispose of the lands of the colony. The whole 
matter was set at rest by the British North America Act of 1867. By 
Section 146 of this Act the Queen was empowered to admit Rupert's Land 
and the North West Territory into Confederation by Order-in-Council 
upon the terms to be adopted in an address of the Parliament of Canada 
and submitted to the Queen. To remove all doubts the Parliament of 
Great Britain and Ireland passed an Act, July 31st, 1868, enabling the 
Queen to accept the surrender of the land, privileges and rights of the 
Hudson's Bay Company and transfer the same to the Dominion of Can- 
ada. Negotiations were immediately opened between the Canadian Gov- 
ernment and the Hudson's Bay Company, with the British Government 
as mediator, and the deed of surrender w^as agreed upon to become effec- 
tive July 15th, 1870. 


Before we take up the history of the Province after the Canadian 
Government took over the North-West, there are some features and 
events of the Hudson's Bay days that could not be logically included in the 
last chapter dealing with the fur trade. From time to time we catch 
glimpses of the province from reports of travellers and explorers. We 
shall first deal with the Arctic Explorers, for although Alberta lies far 
south of the Arctic, the eyes of the people of this province are turned to 
the window of the north and feel that the history of that silent land is 
part of their own. 

Hearne, as we have seen, reached the mouth of the Coppermine in 
1771 and Mackenzie the mouth of his own river in 1789. The British 
Government was anxious to explore the country beyond these points and 
sent out Capt. John Franklin, R. N., in 1819, with instructions to explore 
the coast eastward from the mouth of the Coppermine River. He was ac- 
companied by Dr. John Rae, surgeon in the Royal Navy, and Mr. George 
Back and Mr. Robert Hood, two Admiralty shipmen. 

The party proceeded by the Hudson's Bay boat "Prince of Wales" to 
York Factory and thence by the usual route to the Saskatchewan as far 
as Fort Carlton. From here they crossed to the Beaver River and fol- 
lowed the old route of the voyageurs to Fort Chipewyan, reaching there 
in March, 1820, where they made final preparations for the journey over- 
land to the mouth of the Coppermine River. 

Franklin left old Fort Providence in August accompanied by W. F. 
Wentzel of the North West Company and proceeded to Fort Enterprise 
where he wintered 1820-1821. In June, 1821, he crossed the Height of 
Land and descended to the Coppermine and explored the Arctic Coast 
from this point eastward through Bathurst Inlet and Melville Sound to 
Point Turnagain. From here he travelled to the mouth of Hood River 
ascending the same to Wilberforce Falls where he abandoned his canoes 
and started overland to Fort Enterprise. The party suffered terrible pri- 
vations; one of the guides, insane by hunger, shot poor Hood. They 
finally reached old Fort Providence on December 11th, reaching York 
Factory the following July, having travelled 5,550 miles. Franklin, Rich- 
ardson and Back, with Lieut. E. N. Kendall, made a Second Polar Ex- 
pedition in the years 1825-26-27. On this expedition they built a hut at 
the west end of Great Bear Lake which they used as a base for their Arc- 
tic Explorations. This is known as Fort Franklin. The object of the 



expedition was to explore the Coast eastward from the mouth of the 
Mackenzie River to the mouth of the Coppermine and westward as far 
as possible. The party proceeded by the usual canoe route of the fur 
traders via Cumberland House, Frog- Portage to Fort Chipewyan and down 
by the waterway to Fort Franklin. In June, 1826, the party descended 
the Mackenzie River to Point Separation, so called on the maps because 
here the party divided, — Franklin and Back undertaking' to survey the 
west Coast, while Richardson and Kendall undertook to survey the east 
Coast. Enlightened by his experience on the former expedition, Frank- 
lin provided himself with two stout boats, the "Lion" and "Reliance" 
while Richardson was similarly equipped with the "Dolphin" and 
"Union." Franklin explored the Coast to Beachey, a distance of 374 
miles, while Richardson reached the mouth of the Coppermine River, a 
distance of nearly 1,000 miles, and named the Strait which separates 
Wollaston Land from the mainland, — Dolphin and Union Strait, after the 
names of his trusty boats. In August he ascended the Coppermine River, 
where he abandoned his boats and struck overland to Great Bear Lake 
and reached Fort Franklin September 1st. By the end of September he 
was joined by Franklin again. 

In 1833 Captain Back again returned to the North to seek for Sir 
John Ross, whose party was reported lost. He established his headquar- 
ters at the extreme eastern end of Great Slave Lake, where he built a 
Fort called Fort Reliance. Here he spent the winter of 1833. During the 
winter he learned that Ross' party was safe in England. Nevertheless he 
resolved to continue his expedition. The expedition was under the aus- 
pices of the Arctic Society of the Hudson's Bay Company. The British 
Government contributed 2,000 pounds sterling, the friends of Sir John 
Ross 3,000 pounds sterling, and the Hudson's Bay Company undertook to 
furnish supplies and canoes and send two of their most experienced 
northern traders, James Stuart and Alexander R. Macleod to assist the 
expedition. Captain Back left Fort Reliance in June, 1834, and reached 
the mouth of Great Fish River July 29th. He explored the sea coast to 
Point Ogle, returning by the same route and reaching Fort Reliance Sep- 
tember 27th, 1834. At Point Ogle he discovered driftwood which he 
judged must have come from the mouth of the Mackenzie River and hence 
concluded that a current swept the Arctic shore from the west towards 
the east. 

The next Expedition was fitted out by the Hudson's Bay Company. 
By the Minutes of 1836 of the Council of Rupert's Land, Chief Factor 
Peter Warren Dease and Mr. Thomas Simpson, with a party of twelve 
men, were instructed to carry out additional Arctic exploration. This 
was one of the most successful expeditions of the series. From Fort 
Chipewyan Simpson proceeded to the mouth of the Mackenzie, which 
he reached July 9th, 1837, and explored the west coast beyond the point 
reached by Franklin a few years before. Returning to Great Bear Lake 




he built Fort Confidence on the extreme eastern end and wintered here 
1837-38. In June he crossed over to the Coppermine and descended to 
its mouth. Ice conditions prevented him from using boats, so he travelled 
along the coast on foot with seven men carrying canvas canoes, arms, 
tents and provisions and succeeded in reaching Cape Alexander, 100 
miles east of Cape Turnagain. He returned to Fort Confidence and spent 
the winter. In the summer of 1839 the two explorers set out again and 
reached Cape Alexander July 26th. From this point they explored the 
Coast eastward around Adelaide Peninsula to Point Ogle, which they 
reached August 13th, the point reached by Captain Back in 1834. From 
Point Ogle they proceeded to Montreal Island, where they found a cache 
left by Back. They followed the coast to the mouth of the Castor and 
Pollux River, which they reached August 20th. Here they turned home- 
ward following the south shore of King William Land and Victoria Land, 
reaching the mouth of the Coppermine River again on September 16th, 
1839, and eight days later were back at Fort Confidence. They appro- 
priately named the straits separating Victoria Land and King William 
Land from the mainland, Dease and Simpson straits, respectively. They 
thus established the existence of a water channel separating the Great 
Arctic Island from the rest of Canada. 

The tragic fate of Sir John Franklin's Third Expedition led to another 
overland expedition led by Sir John Richardson and Dr. Rae to determine 
Franklin's fate. Dr. Rae was an officer in the service of the Hudson's 
Bay Company, and had already spent a winter in Arctic exploration. 
The party proceeded by the usual fur traders' route to Fort Chipewyan, 
reaching this post July 11th, 1848, and the mouth of the Mackenzie August 
3rd. They were unable to make any successful exploration that summer, 
ice conditions preventing them from crossing Dolphin and Union Strait 
to Wollaston Land. They spent the winter of 1848-49 at Fort Confidence. 
In June, 1849, Rae set out for the coast and after unusual diflficulties 
reached the sea July 14th. After many vain endeavors to cross to Wollas- 
ton Land, he was forced to return to Fort Confidence. 

Two years later Dr. Rae, under instructions from the Hudson's Bay 
Company, returned to the north and explored Wollaston Land and Vic- 
toria Land. Determined to confirm the ill-fated end of Franklin's Ex- 
pedition, he returned again in 1853. In the spring of 1854 he explored 
the west coast of Boothia. The Esquimaux told him that in the spring 
of 1850 they had seen about forty white men with a boat along the south 
coast of King William Land. They learned from these men that they 
were on their way to the mainland to reach the reindeer. The Esquimaux 
further informed him that later in the same spring they found the bodies 
of about thirty of the white men on the mainland and five more on the isl- 
and near the coast. The Esquimaux had pieces of silver bearing the 
Franklin crest and other articles which proved the tragic end of the 
Franklin Expedition. 


The following year Chief Factor James Anderson of the Mackenzie 
River District descended Back's River and secured from the Esquimaux 
many relics of the Franklin Expedition. Satisfied by this confirmatory 
evidence, the Admiralty awarded to Dr. Rae and his companions, 10,000 
pounds offered for information of the fate of the Expedition. 

We now turn to exploration and travel within the Province. Mention 
has been made of Franchere and his trip down the Athabaska in 1814. 
Franchere was a young Canadian from Montreal, who joined the Astor 
Expedition which sailed in the "Tonquin" in 1810 from New York, and 
founded Fort Astoria near the mouth of the Columbia River in May, 
1811, two months before David Thompson reached the mouth of this river. 
He spent over three years in the Columbia Department and has left us a 
useful account of the period in his "Narrative of a Voyager to the North 
West Coast of America in 1811-1812 and 1813" or "The First American 
Settlement on the Pacific." 

After Astoria was purchased from the Pacific Fur Company by the 
North West Company in October, 1813, Franchere and several partners 
of the Astor Expedition decided to return to Canada by the best route 
over the Rocky Mountains instead of by Cape Horn. 

They left Astoria or Fort George (as this post was called after the 
purchase by the North West Company) with the Spring Brigade, April 
1814, which included among others, McDonald of Garth, John G. Mc- 
Tavish, famous North West partners ; John Clarke and Donald Mackenzie 
of the Pacific Fur Company, as well as several Hawaiians, Chinooks, Ca- 
nadian voyagers and clerks, loaded in ten canoes — in all 90 persons. 

Proceeding up the Columbia they reached Boat Encampment at the 
mouth of Canoe River. They crossed the Rockies by the Athabaska Pass, 
passing McGillivray's Rock and the Governor's Punch Bowl, the latter a 
tiny lake on the divide, 400 yards around, formed in the cup of the rocks 
and so named because it was the custom of the North West Company to 
treat the voyageurs to a bowl of punch when a nabob of the fur trade 
passed this point. Buffaloes were observed far up the Athabaska beyond 
the Miette. A verdant plain along the river was then, as now, known as 
Buffalo Prairie (Prairie de La Vache). 

The party divided at the Pembina River, McDonald and Mackenzie 
crossing over to Edmonton, while Franchere with others descended the 
Athabaska to the La Biche River, which he ascended to Lac La Biche, or as 
he called it "Red Deer Lake." Here he met two young girls gathering 
ducks' and gulls' eggs. They were the daughters of the famous free 
trader often mentioned in Henry's Journals, Antoine Desjarlais, a French 
Canadian from Vercheres, Quebec. He was very glad to meet Franchere, 
for he had two letters two years old from his sister in Quebec. As he 
could not read, this was the first opportunity he had to know their con- 


Crossing from Lac La Biche, they descended the Beaver River for a 
considerable distance, and crossed overland to Fort Vermilion on the 
Saskatchewan, which they reached at sundown, June 10th. Mr. Hallet, 
in charge of the post for the Hudson's Bay Company, brought out two 
quarters of buffalo meat to give them their supper, a splendid and typical 
example of the hospitality of the West. The population of Vermilion at 
this time was some 90 persons, men, women and children. Both the 
North West and Hudson's Bay posts were in operation as in Henry's time, 
five or six years before. 

Alexander Ross crossed the Province with Governor Simpson in 1825 
from the Columbia via the Athabaska Pass and Athabaska River. Ross 
has left an instructive narrative of this trip in his 'Tur Hunters of the 
Far West." By 1825 a new post had been built on the Athabaska — Fort 
Assiniboine. Ross says this was the third establishment of the Hudson's 
Bay Company on this river. The first of course would be Henry's House, 
or Old Fort, opposite the mouth of the Miette River, already mentioned. 
Ross calls this post Rocky Mountain House, and describes it as "a neat lit- 
tle group of wood huts suited to the climate of the country, rendered 
comfortable and filled with cheerful, happy inmates." It was in charge of 
Joseph Felix LaRocque. The second post was Jasper's House, which Ross 
says "was still smaller and of less importance than the first," and in 
charge of Michael Klyne. The reader should note that Ross applies the 
term Rocky Mountain House to the first House, whereas Franchere and 
Ross Cox described Jasper House by this general name. We have now 
met with four Rocky Mountain Houses. One on the North Saskatchewan, 
two on the Athabaska, one on the Peace River at Hudson's Hope. A fifth 
was built by John Thompson in 1800 on the Mackenzie River, a few miles 
below Fort Simpson, in sight of the Rocky Mountains. 

Governor Simpson and Ross left the Athabaska at Fort Astoria and 
crossed to Fort Edmonton, or Fort des Prairies, as it was often called 
in those days. Chief Factor John Rowand was in charge. They continued 
their journey down the Saskatchewan with the York Factory Brigade, 
passing Carlton House, under Chief Factor Stewart, Cumberland House 
under James Leith, where they met Sir John Franklin and Dr. Richard- 
son bound for the Arctic regions. The reader will note here how rapidly 
the number of posts on the Saskatchewan decreased after the amalgama- 
tion of the rival companies. 

The first scientific work of determining the flora and fauna of the 
Province was done in 1825, by Thomas Drummond, the assistant natural- 
ist of Sir John Franklin's second expedition. Drummond ascended the 
Saskatchewan River to the Rocky Mountains, spent the summer of 1826 
in what is now Jasper Park, and returned in the fall of that year to Ed- 
monton. The following spring he travelled down the Saskatchewan 
Valley gathering specimens of plants and animals, which were afterwards 
described and classified by Sir John Richardson and Sir William Hooker. 


David Douglas, whose name is perpetuated by the noble tree that bears 
his name, the Douglas Fir, crossed by the Athabaska Pass from British 
Columbia to Alberta in the spring of 1827, gathering specimens of plants 
for the Royal Horticultural Society of Great Britain. He named two 
mountains, one on each side of the Pass, Brown and Hooker, after the 
famous scientists who bear these names. He reached Jasper House on 
May 4th, and travelled eastward with the York Factory Brigade, in 
charge of Edward Ermatinger. 

Sir George Simpson was a great traveller, and crossed the Province 
several times. Of two of his journeys we have extended accounts, from 
which we glean considerable information of the country and people. 
Chief Factor Archibald Macdonald's Journal of the canoe voyage made 
by Sir George in 1828 across Alberta, via the Athabaska and Peace rivers, 
presents a new picture of the Peace River compared with the conditions 
in Thompson's time. Most of the posts were in a ruinous state, and small 
houses and posts not mentioned before were observed, namely : McTavish's 
House below the Vermilion Falls. (Mountain or Grand Falls as they 
were known to the voyageurs) ; above the Falls, English House, built by 
Halere; Colville's House, built below where Boyer's River enters the 
Peace. Farther up, above Vermilion, remnants of Colin Campbell's 
House, Robertson and Clarke's, St. Mary's, the latter near the mouth of 
the Smoky River. 

Vermilion and Dunvegan were the only Posts occupied at this time. 
Dunvegan had been lately reestablished, having been abandoned in 1824 
on account of the hostility of the Beaver Indians following the massacre 
of those in charge of St. John's Fort in the fall of 1823. Pine Fort stood 
a short distance below the junction of the Pine River with the Peace. 
Close by, on the same side of the River, was Mr. Yale's house. The old 
Mountain House was still in existence on the south side of the river at 
Hudson's Hope. 

After 1840 the lure of the West attracted several noted travellers, 
who spent some time in Alberta and the desire of the authorities in Can- 
ada and Great Britain led to the despatch of important exploring ex- 
peditions which, in the course of their work, operated within the province. 
Sir George Simpson crossed the province again in 1841. Leaving Fort 
Garry July 3rd, 1841, with Chief Factor Rowand of the Saskatchewan 
District, the Governor travelled overland to Edmonton via Fort Carlton 
and Fort Pitt, reaching Edmonton House July 24th. His Journal on this 
trip indicates the great fear travellers had in those days in passing 
through the country of the Blackfeet, especially where it bordered on the 
territory of the Crees around Fort Pitt and the lower valley of the Battle 
River. At Edmonton he was received with the firing of guns by native 
chiefs of the Blackfeet, Piegan, Sarcee and Blood Indians, dressed in 
their fine clothes and decorated with scalp locks. "They implored me," 
says Sir George, "to grant their horses might always be swift, that the 


buffalo might instantly abound and that their wives might live long and 
look young." 

Accompanied by a guide named Peechee, Chief of the Mountain Crees, 
he set out from Edmonton, passed Gull Lake, crossed the Blind Man and 
Red Deer rivers and thence through the foothills to the Bow River, which 
he ascended to opposite Hole in the Wall Mountain, Here he turned up 
the Pass that bears his name and crossed the summit into British 

In 1843 Sir J. H. Lefroy, of the British Magnetic Survey, descended 
the Clearwater and Athabaska Rivers. He spent from October 16th of 
that year to February 29th, 1844, at Chipewyan taking magnetical and 
meteorological observations every hour of the twenty-four hours of each 
day. In the spring he went down the Slave River and the Mackenzie 
River as far as Fort Simpson, where he remained during the months of 
April and May. Retracing this route as far as the mouth of the Peace 
River, he ascended the Peace to Dunvegan. Leaving the river here, he 
travelled eastward to Lesser Slave Lake and thence to Edmonton. 

Paul Kane, the first Canadian artist to win enduring fame, visited 
Alberta in 1846 and 1847 in his trip across the Continent to secure 
sketches and drawings of the Indians and the scenery of the West. His 
canvases, which are preserved in the Royal Ontario Museum, constitute 
the best existing record of the dress, manners and customs of the Red Men 
of the West before it was invaded by the white settler. He makes many 
observations interesting to Albertans today. On his way from Edmonton 
to Fort Assiniboine he sketched a group of buffalo resting beside the Stur- 
geon River in the vicinity of St. Albert. On the way westward from Ed- 
monton he was accompanied by Colin Eraser, in charge of a post in the 
mountains, and the famous Highland piper brought to the North- West by 
George Simpson and who accompanied the Governor in his famous over- 
land journey of 1828. On his return journey from British Columbia he re- 
mained at Edmonton and describes the Christmas festivities of Alberta's 
capital three-quarters of a century ago. The population at the Fort was 
130 ; 800 cords of wood were burned that winter. Coal from the river bank 
was used only in the blacksmith's forge, on account of the want of proper 
iron grates for the stoves. Over 700 horses were kept at the Fort for hunt- 
ing and packing and one horsekeeper sufficed to look after this immense 
band. Thousands of buffalo roamed the district close to the Fort. One of 
his most famous sketches which he used for the frontispiece of his book, 
"The Wanderings of an Artist," was an Edmonton Cree girl described 
by the poetic name of Cun-ne-wa-bum, "The one who looks at the stars." 

The fact that the Hudson's Bay license was to expire in 1859 actuated 
the Canadian and British Governments to acquire definite information 
regarding the natural resources of the vast area of Rupert's Land and 
the feasibility of communication from Canada to the Red River and from 
the Great Plains through the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. 


Strange as it may seem today, older Canada and the rest of the Empire 
tardily realised that the prairies between the Red River and the Rocky 
Mountains were different in soil, rainfall and other essential character- 
istics of a desirable agricultural region, from the great American desert 
south of the International Boundary. Canada did not actually discover 
the fertile belt of the North-West until 1860. We are indebted to two 
Expeditions for this gratifying vindication of the resources of the North- 
West, — one under Capt. John Palliser, under the auspices of the British 
Government, and the other under Messrs. S. J. Dawson and Henry Youle 
Hind, under the auspices of the Canadian Government. The Canadian 
Expedition confined its activities to the country between Lake Superior 
and the Red River, and westward to include the area now included in the 
Provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The Expedition has little 
direct interest to the people of Alberta except that it was the beginning 
of the idea to construct an All-Canadian route across British North 
America, — an idea that has materialized in the Confederation of all por- 
tions of British North America and the three great trans-continental rail- 
way systems that exist today. 

Palliser's expedition is of the greatest interest to the people of Alberta 
as a great deal of the exploratory work was done in the region now in- 
cluded in the province and in the mountains towards British Columbia. 
Assisting Captain Palliser were Dr. James Hector, Capt. R. Blackiston, 
R. A., M. Bourgeau, botanist, and J. W. Sullivan, secretary. The terri- 
tory examined and mapped out ranged from Lake Superior to Okanagan 
Lake in British Columbia and within Alberta from the International 
Boundary to the watershed of the Arctic Ocean. The first season was 
devoted to the region between Lake Superior and the Elbow of the South 
Saskatchewan from the 49th parallel to Fort Carlton, where the Expedi- 
tion wintered 1857-58. The second season was devoted to an examination 
of the country between the north and south branches of the Saskatchewan 
River, to the mountains and to the discovery of passes therein. The sec- 
ond winter was spent at Edmonton. From here Dr. Hector made four 
trips. The first was a ten-day trip to Snake Hills on the north Saskat- 
chewan, about 100 miles below Edmonton. In November and December, 
1858, he examined the country in the vicinity of the Red Deer River 
through the foothills to old Bow Fort. In January and February, 1859, 
he went to Jasper's House via Fort Assiniboine. Accompanied by Mr. 
Moberley, the gentleman in charge of the post, he journeyed five days up 
the Athabaska River into Athabaska Pass. Want of food compelled him 
to return to Jasper's House. From here he returned to Edmonton by 
Macleod River and Lac Ste. Anne. At the end of March he went down to 
Fort Pitt on the crust of the snow, returning when the snow went away 
to study the soil. Captain Palliser during the same winter made the trip 
to the Beaver Hills and another up the Saskatchewan to Rocky Mountain 


The third season commenced in May with a long journey from Ed- 
monton via Buffalo Lake and Red Deer Forks into the Cypress Hills. 
On the way Palliser met several camps of the Blackfeet, who complained 
that the Hudson's Bay Company charged them more for their supplies 
than was charged the Crees. Consequently they were beginning to trade 
with the Americans at Fort Benton. Leaving the Cypress Hills in August, 
1859, the party explored westward. Soon the party divided, Palliser pro- 
ceeding nearly along the 49th parallel to Chief Mountain and crossed the 
Rockies by the Kootenay Pass. Hector turned northwestward and crossed 
the Belly River where it joins the Bow. He continued up the Bow until 
he came to the site of old Bow Fort, meeting many Piegans and Mountain 
Assiniboines, living on elk and grizzly bears, turnips and potatoes grown 
at the Bow Fort mission. Following the valley of the Bow he reached 
Castle Mountain opposite Vermilion Pass. Here he turned northwest, 
keeping on the east side of the watershed, passing by the Pipestone Pass 
to the north Saskatchewan River. Turning southwest he followed up 
the Saskatchewan, crossing the mountains by Howse Pass in the path of 
Thompson and descended the Blaeberry River to the Columbia. 

The object of the expedition was to examine into the possibilities of 
settlement and to "ascertain whether any practicable pass or passes avail- 
able for horses, existed across the Rocky Mountains within British terri- 
tory and south of that known to exist between Mount Brown and Mount 
Hooker, known as the Boat Encampment Pass." The report to the British 
Government was elaborate and eloquent of the natural wealth of the 
country. Palliser explored the Kootenay and Kananaskis passes, Hector 
the Vermilion and Kicking Horse passes. They found the various passes 
available for horses. Notwithstanding these discoveries, Palliser report- 
ed against the settlement of the country and the construction of a railway. 
After stating that his Expedition had made connection between the 
prairies and British Columbia without passing through the United States 
Territory, he added, "Still the knowledge of the country on the whole 
would never lead me to advise a line of communication from Canada 
across the Continent to the Pacific, exclusively through British Territory. 
The time has forever gone for effecting such an object." 

Palliser was followed two years later by Lord Milton and Dr. Cheadle, 
who were sent out by the Royal Geographical Society to find the most 
direct route through British Territory to the gold region of Caribou and 
to explore the unknown country at the source of the North Thompson 
River. All the important passes from the South Kootenay to the Atha- 
baska had now been discovered by Palliser's and previous expeditions. 
Where the Athabaska turns south, a little west of the present Jasper 
Station, it is joined by the Miette from the west. This river leads to the 
Yellowhead Pass, one of the lowest in the mountains. Through this pass 
Lord Milton's party travelled in 1863 and reported that the most prac- 
ticable route from the fertile belt of the Saskatchewan to the gold regions 


of British Columbia was by the Leather or Yellowhead Pass and along 
the North Thompson River, the present route of the Canadian National 

The party wintered 1862-63 about 80 miles northwest of Fort Carl- 
ton at White Fish Lake, where they built a hut and lived comfortably 
until spring. Their horses had been turned loose in the fall and rounded 
up when the snow went away. "Although very thin when the snow be- 
gan to fall, they were now perfect balls of fat and as wild and full of 
spirit as if fed on corn," says Lord Milton in his fascinating story of the 
Expedition, "The North West Passage by Land." There was no settle- 
ment between Fort Carlton and Edmonton except a post at Fort Pitt and 
Victoria. St. Albert and Lac Ste. Anne were flourishing settlements 
though grizzly bears were near enough to kill the horses at St. Albert. 
Colin Eraser, Simpson's piper, was now in charge of Lac Ste. Anne. On 
the 5th day after leaving Jasper House, the party was surprised to come 
upon a stream flowing westward. Unconsciously they had passed the 
summit, the ascent had been so imperceptible. In their passage through 
the mountains, Milton and Cheadle overtook a party of emigrants on their 
way to the Cariboo Mines and other parts of British Columbia. The 
party was composed of citizens of Ontario and Quebec who had assembled 
at Fort Garry — 136 in all. They had travelled to Edmonton by the Carl- 
ton Trail, taking the trail on the south side of the North Saskatchewan 
River from Fort Pitt to Edmonton. This party was known as "The 
Argonauts of 1862." Their guide from Edmonton to the Yellowhead 
Pass and Tete Jaune Cache was Andre Cardinal, the famous half breed 
guide of the time. The Argonauts were the third party of actual settlers 
known to have crossed the plains up to this time to settle west of the 
Rocky Mountains. The first was a party of twenty-three families in 
1841, mentioned by Sir George Simpson, and the second, the Sinclair 
Party in 1854, comprising sixty-five persons, after whom the Sinclair 
Pass on the Banff-Windermere Road is named. 

Ten years later, notwithstanding Palliser's report. Government engi- 
neers were making the preliminary survey of the C. P. R. through the 
Yellowhead Pass. In 1871 British Columbia entered Confederation. One 
of the terms of the union was the construction of a railway joining the 
Pacific province with Eastern Canada. Sandford Fleming, the Chief 
Engineer of the Canadian Government, crossed the plains in 1872 from 
Winnipeg by the trail of Simpson, Kane, Milton and Cheadle, namely, 
Portage La Prairie, Fort Ellice, Touchwood Hills, Fort Carlton, Fort 
Pitt, Victoria, Edmonton, Lac Ste. Anne, Jasper House. At Edmonton 
he despatched Charles Horetzky and John Macoun to examine the country 
through the Peace River Valley and the Pine Pass. By the end of 1872 
every pass in the Rocky Mountains had been traversed and explored by 
white men. The pioneer work of Mackenzie and Thompson was finished, 
and a new era was breaking over the Great Lone Land. 


ALBERTA FROM 1867-1905. 

The confederation of the provinces of British North America, Ontario, 
Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, was proclaimed on July 1, 1867. 
In the B. N. A. Act setting forth the terms of confederation, provision 
was made for the admission of Prince Edward Island, Rupert's Land, the 
North Western Territories, British Columbia and Vancouver Island into 
the union, upon addresses from the Houses of Parliament of Canada on 
such terms and conditions in each case as should be in the addresses 

On December 16, 1867, addresses were passed in the Senate and 
House of Commons of Canada praying for the union of Rupert's Land and 
the North Western Territories with the Dominion of Canada. 

In 1868 the British Parliament passed the Rupert's Land Act enabling 
the Dominion of Canada to accept the surrender of the territory in question 
together with all the territorial and other rights conveyed by the original 
charter of Charles II to the Hudson's Bay Company in 1670. Accordingly, 
on October 1, 1868, Sir Geo. Cartier and Hon. William McDougall were 
appointed by the Dominion Government to proceed to London and arrange 
terms for the acquisition by Canada of Rupert's Land and the North West- 
ern Territory from the Hudson's Bay Company. A memorandum of agree- 
ment signed by Sir Stafford Northcotte on behalf of the company, and by 
the Canadian delegates on behalf of the government of Canada was arrived 
at, submitted to the Canadian Government on May 8, 1869, and approved 
by Order in Council on May 14th following. The principal terms of sur- 
render were as follows: 

(1) The Government of Canada paid 300,000 pounds sterling at the 
time of the transfer to the Hudson's Bay Company. 

(2) The Company retained all its posts then possessed and occupied 
and within twelve months from the date of the surrender were allowed to 
select a block of land adjoining each of their posts, the total of which was 
not to exceed 50,000 acres. The area actually selected and agreed to by 
the Government of Canada was 45,160 acres. 

(3) The company was allowed fifty years from the date of the sur- 
render to select one-twentieth of the surveyed land in the Fertile Belt. The 
selections in any township were to be made within ten years from the date 
of survey thereof. The Fertile Belt was designated as that portion of the 



Territories south of the North Saskatchewan River and east of Lake of the 
Woods and Lake Winnipeg. 

The surrender and the agreement relating to it was ordered by the 
Privy Council of Great Britain to go into effect on July 15, 1870, and in 
that month the last meeting of the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company 
as governors and administrators of the North West Territories was held 
at Norway House. 

To provide for the change of authority, the government of Canada, 
anticipating the surrender, passed an Act providing for the temporary 
government of the North West Territories (32-33 Vict. Cap. 3) in 1869, 
by a council appointed by the Governor in Council. Unfortunately the 
establishment of Canadian authority was attended with the serious dis- 
turbances that led to the Riel Rebellion of 1869-70, the result of which was 
the passing of the Manitoba Act and the institution of the first representa- 
tive government in Western Canada. The government of that portion of 
the North West Territories not included in the Province of Manitoba was 
provided for by continuing the act of 1869, and by section 35 of the Mani- 
toba Act, whereby the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba became also 
the Lieutenant Governor of the North West Territories. The following 
year the Parliament of Canada passed an Act making further provision 
for the government of the North West Territories, authorizing the appoint- 
ment of a council not exceeding fifteen and not less than seven to aid the 
Lieutenant Governor. This Council is known as the North West Council. 

The first Lieutenant Governor of the North West Territories was Hon. 
A. G. Archibald. He arrived in Winnipeg September 2, 1870, a few days 
after Riel had fled from the scene of his brief, rebellious dictatorship. One 
of the first acts of Lieutenant Governor Archibald was to commission 
Captain W. F. Butler, a famous soldier and traveller, to proceed to the 
plains of Alberta to report on the condition of the country, with a view 
toward enacting proper ordinances for the government of that new part 
of the Dominion of Canada, and to ascertain the extent of the ravages of 
the terrible epidemic of smallpox that was then raging among the Crees 
and Blackfeet tribes of Alberta. To cope with the plague, a Board of 
Health was formed, the first form of local government organization to be 
established in this Province. Its members were men remembered by all 
Westerners with esteem and affection : Rev. George McDougall ; Rev. 
Father Leduc; Rev. Father Andre; Richard Hardisty, Chief Factor; Rev. 
Father Lacombe; Bishop Grandin of St. Albert; Bishop Faraud, Lac la 
Biche ; Rev, Henry Steinhauer ; Rev. Peter Campbell ; Rev. John McDou- 
gall; John Bunn. 

In January, 1873, the first North West Council was gazetted, the fol- 
lowing being the members thereof : Hon. Donald A. Smith, Hon. A. Girard, 
Hon. Henry J. Clarke, Hon. Pascal Breland, Hon. Alfred Boyd, John 
Schultz, Joseph Dubuc, Andrew G. Bannatyne, Wm. Eraser, Robert Ham- 
ilton and Wm. J. Christie. 







The first meeting took place on March 8th. By an Act of 1873 the num- 
ber of the Council was increased to twenty-one and in December of the 
same year five additional members were added to the Council, viz., Hon. 
James McKay, Hon. Jos. Royal, Pierre Delorme, W. R. Brown and W. N. 

In 1875 the Parliament of Canada passed the North West Territories' 
Act (C. S. 1875, Cap. 49) which has been called the Constitutional Act of 
the Territories. From that period the North West Territories have en- 
joyed independent government and have risen from a state of semi-feudal- 
ism to almost complete provincial autonomy. The Constitution relating to 
government and legislation, the election of members to the North West 
Council or Legislative Assembly, and the administration of justice was set 
forth in this Act, and the law relating to descent of real estate, wills, rights 
of married women, registration of deeds, intoxicants, and other matters 
were also provided for. The legislative and executive authority was vested 
in the North West Council composed of five members appointed by the 
Governor in Council, and other members elected by the people in certain 
districts. Communities with a white population of 1000 persons within 
an area of 1000 square miles were constituted electoral districts and given 
the right to elect a representative to the Council. A measure of local gov- 
ernment was conferred upon each electoral district. The Lieutenant Gov- 
ernor and North West Council were empowered to pass ordinances to erect 
each electoral district into a municipal corporation with rights to impose 
taxes for municipal purposes and to pass by-laws. 

The North West Council as constituted by the North West Territories' 
Act, which was consolidated in 1880, and again in 1886, continued until 
1888 when the system of having appointed members was abolished and 
the Council was superseded by an assembly elected every three years. 
The first legislative assembly consisted of twenty-two members and three 
legal experts who retained their seats during the term of the legislative 
assembly, took part in debates but were not entitled to vote. 

The North West Territories' Act of 1875 was proclaimed on October 7, 
1876, and Hon. David Laird was appointed the first Lieutenant Governor 
of the North West Territories. He proceeded at once to Livingstone (Swan 
River) , where the capital of the Territories was temporarily located await- 
ing the completion of the government buildings at Battleford. The first 
session of the Council was held at Swan River March 8 to March 22, 1877. 
Ordinances relating to administration of justice, protection of buffalo, 
prevention of forest and prairie fires, ferries, roads, infectious diseases, 
and masters and servants — in all, twelve bills — were passed and sent to 
Ottawa for confirmation by the Federal Government. The members of 
the First Council were: Hon. David Laird, Lieutenant Governor; Matthew 
Ryan, Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Richardson, stipendiary magistrates as 
ex-oflficio members of the Council; Lt. Col. James F. Macleod, C. M. G., 


Commissioner of the N. W. M. P., appointed ; A. E. Forget, Clerk of the 

For the administration of justice the Federal Government erected 
courts of civil and criminal jurisdiction, appointed a sheriff (Molineaux St. 
John) and two stipendiary magistrates. The Lieutenant Governor, subject 
to the Orders of the Governor in Council, had control of the Mounted 
Police force and the appointment of justices of the peace. 

The second session opened at Battleford July 10, 1878, with an addi- 
tional member, Pascal Breland, appointed. Increased powers had been 
conferred upon the Council respecting prisons, marriage, property and 
civil rights, and the formation of municipalities for purposes of local taxa- 
tion. The buffalo ordinance was repealed and from that time the buffalo 
were doomed. Indian dogs were so numerous in the country that the citi- 
zens of Victoria petitioned the Council for protection for their calves and 
pigs. The citizens of St. Laurent petitioned for assistance to procure a 
school teacher. As the Council of the Territories had no power to impose 
direct taxation except in electoral districts, the Council referred the mat- 
ter to the Federal Government. The Council was instructed by the 
Federal Government that the constitutional objection of want of represen- 
tation could be met by raising a fund for school corporations and giving 
them the right to impose the rate. The constitutional objection of want of 
representation, which would apply in the case of taxation by the Council, 
would not be applicable to school corporations, who would merely tax them- 
selves. The same question arose in the following session of 1879. The 
Federal Government was asked to amend the North West Territories' Act 
enabling the North West Council to pass an ordinance empowering the 
people of any settlement with a sufficient number of children, to form 
a school district and assess themselves toward its support. 

The menacing attitude of some of the Indian tribes led the authorities 
to take steps for the organization of volunteer militia by Lt. Col. Osborne 
Smith, D. 0. C. of the Winnipeg Military District. Companies were 
formed at Battleford (Captain Scott), St. Laurent (Capt. Owen E. 
Hughes), Prince Albert, two companies of horse (Captains Moore and 
Young), and one company of infantry (Capt. Thos. McKay). 

The fourth session of the North West Council was held at Battleford 
May 26 to June 11, 1881. Three electoral districts had been formed, viz.: 
Kimberley, Salisbury and Lome, the last of which returned Lawrence 
Clarke, Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Carlton, as 
the first elected member of the Council in the Territories. The most im- 
portant legislative enactment of the session was the provision for short 
forms of conveyancing. 

Hon. Edgar Dewdney succeeded Hon. David Laird as Lieutenant Gov- 
ernor of the North West Territories in May, 1883, and in the same year 
the capital was transferred to Regina. The construction of the Canadian 
Pacific Railway and the rapid growth of districts along the railway 


led the Dominion Government to choose Regina. The North West Coun- 
cil convened on August 22nd. Six elected members sat in the Council as 
follows: Francis Oliver, Edmonton; Capt. D. H. McDowall, Lome; John 
C. Hamilton, Broadview; T. W. Jackson, Qu'Appelle; Wm. White, Regina; 
Jas. H. Ross, Moose Jaw. A residence of twelve months in the district 
preceding the issue of the writ was the qualification necessary to vote. 
The ex-officio members were : Lt. Col. Hugh Richardson and Col. J, F, 
Macleod, stipendiary magistrates. The appointed members were Pascal 
Breland, Lt. Col. A. C. Irvine and Hayter Reed. 

The activity of the Council of 1883, especially among the elected 
members, indicates real progress throughout the entire North-West, and 
also the need of increased legislative power for the Council. Memorials 
were sent to the Governor General complaining of certain policies that 
were being carried out by the Dominion Government, viz. : The reservation 
of land on both sides of the C. P. R. known as the Mile Belt Reserve, the 
granting of leases in grazing lands, the practice of putting cancelled home- 
steads up for sale, and granting of immense tracts of lands to Colonization 
Companies. Further requests were made for power to incorporate com- 
panies having territorial objects, two more stipendiary magistrates, reduc- 
tion of the duties on agricultural implements, a per capita grant based 
upon an assumed population of 100,000 for public improvements and repre- 
sentation in the Dominion Parliament. 

The sixth session of the North West Territories continued from July 3 
to August 6, 1884. Two more members were added, being the elected rep- 
resentatives of Calgary and Moose Mountain. A total of 188 votes were 
cast in Calgary and 157 in Moose Mountain in these elections. 

The liquor traffic was a prominent feature in the speech from the 
throne. The fee system of liquor permits introduced in the previous ses- 
sion had the eff'ect of lessening the number of applications. Smuggling, 
however, was increasing notwithstanding the vigilance of the Mounted 
Police and the penalties imposed. The establishment of breweries was 
recommended by the Lieutenant Governor and endorsed by the Council to 
obviate smuggling. Thirty-six ordinances were passed in this session, the 
most important of which were the School and Municipal Ordinances. 

A Select Committee reported (July 7, 1884), that the Federal Govern- 
ment should be requested to put Section 93, B. N. A. Act, in force in the 
Territories as provided by Section 9 of the North West Territories Act. 
The School Ordinance provided for the formation of school districts with 
power to levy taxes for school purposes. An appropriation of $7,000 was 
divided among the different school districts. Those in operation were: 
Protestant, 17 ; Roman Catholic, 11. Three towns, viz. : Regina, Moose 
Jaw and Calgary were incorporated to date ; also four municipalities, viz. : 
Qu'Appelle, South Qu'Appelle, Wolseley and Indian Head. 

By the "Administration of Justice Ordinance 1884," the North West 
Territories were divided into three judicial districts, viz. : Assiniboia, Al- 


berta and Saskatchewan, subdivided into Regina, Medicine Hat, Calgary, 
Macleod, Edmonton, Battleford and Prince Albert districts. Although the 
three stipendiary magistrates had concurrent jurisdiction over the whole 
of the Territories, for convenience Lieut. Col. Hugh Richardson resided at 
Regina, Lieut. Col. Macleod at Macleod, and Magistrate Rouleau at Battle- 
ford. There were sixty-three justices of the peace and thirty-four notaries 
at this time. Permits for 9,908 gallons of liquors were issued during the 

This session is important in that it witnessed the first opposition to 
the control of the expenditure by the Lieutenant Governor, and the asser- 
tion of the rights of the Council to legislative and executive control of all 
matters relating to the government of the North West Territories such as 
was granted to the legislative assemblies of the older provinces of Canada. 
The opposition was led by Mr. Frank Oliver of Edmonton, and Mr. J. H. 
Ross of Moose Jaw in the form of an amendment to the Report of the 
Committee on Finance in framing the annual budget to be sent to the 
Federal Government. 

The members of the Opposition claimed that the funds granted by the 
Parliament of Canada for the expenses of government in the North- West 
should be placed under the control of the representatives of the people 
instead of in the hands of the Lieutenant Governor. Subsidies similar to 
those received by the other provinces, grants in lieu of public lands until 
the North West Territories were able to take over these lands, funds for 
public schools on the security of school lands of the Territories, and that 
no person not directly responsible to the people should be allowed a voice 
in the local legislature or a seat at the Council Board. 

The affairs of the North West Territories now began to attract the 
serious attention of the Dominion Parliament. In the session of 1885 bills 
were introduced providing for a census of the North West Territories, the 
introduction of the Torrens system of land registration and for represen- 
tation of the Territories in the Parliament of Canada. The most pressing 
question of the hour was the discontent among the half-breeds who claimed 
the scrip privileges accorded the Metis of Manitoba. This question caused 
considerable feeling in the Council and throughout the whole of the Terri- 
tories. A Commission consisting of Messrs. W. P. R. Street, A. E. Forget, 
and Roger Goulet was appointed on March 30th, too late, however, to pre- 
vent the half-breed uprising, known as the Second Riel Rebellion. The 
Commission was directed to enumerate the half-breeds resident in the 
Territories previous to July 15, 1870, and to issue scrip. The Commission- 
ers disposed of the claims of 1815 half-breeds, issuing money scrip to the 
value of $279,200 and land scrip for 55,200 acres. 

The bill providing for representation was postponed until the census 
was taken. 

Five million bushels of wheat were produced for export this year and 
the first shipment of wool from the Alberta ranchers was made in the 


summer of 1885, the clip amounting to 70,000 lbs. The C. P. R. was com- 
pleted. The last spike was driven by Sir Donald A. Smith at Craigellachie, 
B. C, November 7, 1885. 

During the summer Hon. Thos. White, Minister of the Interior, visited 
the Territories. His visit formed the occasion for the people to lay their 
claims for reform directly before the Dominion Government. The petition 
of the people of Prince Albert expresses these claims in a general way: 
Representation in the Dominion Parliament ; a legislative assembly for the 
Territories and abolition of the North West Council ; the formation of a 
new province with control of public lands; railway branch lines and the 
Hudson's Bay Railway; the extension of the Habeas Corpus to the Terri- 
tories ; abolition of dues on timber for domestic purposes ; opening of odd- 
numbered sections for homesteading ; improved mail service ; appointment 
of officials from residents of the Northwest; that unoccupied Indian re- 
serves be opened for homesteading; that farmers be furnished with seed 

A re-arrangement of the territorial electoral divisions was made in 
1885 and elections were held on September 15th. The members elected 
were: J. H. Ross, Moose Jaw; J. G. Turriff, Moose Mountain; S. A. Bed- 
ford, Moosomin; W. D. Perley and Robert Crawford, Qu'Appelle; H. C. 
Wilson, Edmonton ; Viscount Boyle, Macleod ; Charles Marshallsay, Broad- 
view; Samuel Cunningham, St. Albert; O. E. Hughes, Lome; D. F. Jelly 
and John Secord, Regina; D. Lauder and H. S. Cayley, Calgary. 

The report of the Lieutenant Governor to the Minister of the Interior 
for 1885 showed that 71 school districts had been organized since the pass- 
ing of the school ordinance of 1884, representing a school population of 
2,500 pupils. A Board of Education for the Territories, of five members, 
w^as appointed. The members of the Board were Messrs. Marshallsay 
and Secord of the Assembly, Charles B. Rouleau and Pere Lacombe. 

The movement for "better terms" which began in 1884 was vigorously 
revived in this session. 

The Council by a vote of ten to seven carried a reply to the speech 
from the throne which was virtually a censure on the policy of the Domin- 
ion Government towards the Territories. The policy of the Council was 
contained in an elaborate memorial to the Dominion Parliament and pre- 
sented by a special deputation, Messrs. Perley, Ross and Wilson. 

In the session of 1886 the Dominion Parliament dealt with the me- 
morial of the North West Council. Out of the twenty-seven reforms asked 
for, seventeen were granted and the others dealt with in a liberal spirit. 
The Habeas Corpus Act was extended to the Territories and a Supreme 
Court with appellate jurisdiction was established. Four Federal electoral 
districts were formed, two for Assiniboia, one each for Alberta and Sas- 
katchewan. Two senators were provided for. The powers of the Council 
were enlarged to make ordinances relating to : 


(a) Direct taxation within the province for territorial and munici- 
pal purposes. 

(b) The incorporation of companies with territorial objects. 

In addition to the completion of the C P. R., this year witnessed plans 
for the extension of the Manitoba and North Western Railway, Long Lake 
Railway, Manitoba and Southwestern Railway and the Northwestern Coal 
and Navigation Company's Railway (the Gait Railway afterwards the 
Crowsnest Branch of C. P. R. and A. R. & L) for which land grants of 
6,400 acres per mile were given by the Dominion Parliament. 

A special Committee of the North West Council was appointed in 1886 
to draft memorials to the Dominion Government in matters requiring 
attention in the Territories and within scope of the Dominion. 

The demands in the main were: 

(a) Reduction in price of pre-emptions. 

(b) Assistance for a system of secondary education. 

(c) Payment of losses sustained by settlers during the rebellion of 

(d) Vote by ballot. 

(e) Votes for bona fide male adults after six months' residence in the 
electoral district. 

(f ) Reduction of freight rates on the C. P. R. 

The Dominion Parliament was dissolved on January 17, 1887, and rep- 
resentatives for the electoral divisions of the N. W. T. were elected to the 
Dominion Parliament for the first time. These were as follows : Alberta, 
D. W. Davis; Assiniboia East, W. D. Perley; Assiniboia West, N. F. Davin; 
Saskatchewan, D. W. McDowall. 

Land grants of 6,400 acres were given to the Athabasca Railway Com- 
pany from a point south of Calgary to Edmonton, about 300 miles. 

On February 18, 1887, the Territories were divided into five judicial 
districts, viz. : Eastern Assiniboia, Western Assiniboia, Northern Alberta, 
Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. On the same date the following were 
appointed judges of the Supreme Court of the North West Territories: 
Hon. Hugh Richardson of Regina ; Hon. Jas. F. Macleod, C. M. G., of Fort 
Macleod; Hon. Chas. B. Rouleau of Calgary; Hon. Edward Wetmore of 
Fredericton, N. B. The Territories' Real Property Act passed in 1886 by 
the Dominion Parliament went into effect on January 1, 1887, and under 
it the Torrens System was established. Registrars were appointed for the 
five Registration Land Districts resident at Prince Albert, Battleford, 
Regina, Calgary and Edmonton. 

The last session of the North West Council opened on October 14, 1887. 
During the recess Lord Boyle and W. D. Perley resigned and in their 
places the following members were returned : Macleod, F. W. G. Haultain ; 
Qu'Appelle, Wm. Sutherland. 

The development of the country was reflected in the statements in the 
Speech from the Throne. The number of schools increased to 109 with 


3,543 pupils. The crop returns from 168 townships showed 76,384 acres 
under cultivation, viz. : Wheat, 33,354 acres ; oats, 29,416 acres ; barley, 
8,244 ; roots, 5,370 acres ; new land broken, 16,596 acres. 

The liquor law of the Territories or the permit system was declared 
by a report of a special committee of the Council to be "unsatisfactory and 
ineffective either as a temperance or a prohibitory measure." Accord- 
ingly a resolution was passed asking that power be given to the Council 
to deal with this question similar to the power enjoyed by the other 
provinces and that the Canada Temperance Act be put in force in the 

On the 10th of November a special committee consisting of the 
elected members of the Council was appointed to prepare a memorial re- 
specting the future Constitution of the North West Territories which 
placed the views of the people of the Territories before the Parliament of 

The memorial embodied the terms and principles so often contended 
for in previous years with respect to larger powers of local government 
and control of expenditure. In this connection it is interesting to note the 
report of the Lieutenant Governor to the federal government. He wrote 
as follows : 

"During the sitting of the Council a memorial was adopted recommend- 
ing that a purely representative form of government take the place of our 
present Council. I think it my duty to inform you that my information 
from several scattered centres of population in the Territories, does not 
indicate that such is the general feeling of the people. A strong fear is 
expressed that a purely representative form of government will lead 
to direct taxation and thus impose upon settlers burdens which they 
are at present unable to bear." 

On the 19th of November the North West Council met for the last 
time. During the session of 1888 the Dominion Parliament passed amend- 
ments to the N. W. T. Act creating a legislative assembly for the Terri- 
tories of twenty-two members with three legal experts who held office 
during the terms of the assembly, took part in the debates but did not have 
the right to vote. The term of the assembly could not exceed three years 
(C. S. 1888 Cap. 19). 

Hon. Edgar Dewdney, who had been Lieutenant Governor since the 
retirement of Hon. David Laird in 1883, became Minister of the Interior 
and was succeeded by Hon. Joseph Royal. The first legislative assembly 
of the Territories opened at Regina, October 31, 1888; Hon. H. C. Wilson, 
member for Edmonton was elected first speaker. The advisory council 
consisted of the following members : 

Hon. F. W. G. Haultain, Macleod. 
Hon. D. F. Jelly, North Regina. 
Hon. Wm. Sutherland, North Qu'Appelle. 
Hon. Hillyard Mitchell, Batoche. 


The legal experts were : Hon. Justices Richardson, Macleod and 

The new government immediately undertook a revision and consolida- 
tion of the ordinances of the North West Territories. The work was done 
by Hon. Justice Richardson and A. E. Forget, Clerk of the North West 

The legislature was anxious to obtain control of the liquor traffic by 
license or prohibition. The question was referred to the legal experts who 
decided that the legislature had no power to take a plebiscite on either 

The abolition of the North West Council and the establishment of a 
legislative assembly did not solve the problems of legislation and executive 
government in the Territories. Although the assembly had been granted 
control of expenditure yet the N. W. T, Act did not clearly give the 
assembly that control of moneys voted by the Dominion Government for 
expenses in the Territories which was sufficient for the expedition of 
public business. There were parliamentary institutions without respons- 
ible government. There was no responsible body to prepare legislation 
for the consideration of the assembly and in consequence its legislative 
functions could not be satisfactorily performed. 

There was no cabinet of responsible ministers. By law, the Lieutenant 
Governor was forced to select four members of the assembly as an advisory 
council only in matters of finance. He was president of the council and 
voted as a member thereof. In order to initiate legislation the assembly 
were forced to present "an humble address" to the Lieutenant Governor 
asking that he be pleased to appoint a commission to draft certain meas- 
ures, which it should have been the right and duty of the assembly to do. 

Strained relations ensued between the Governor and the Assembly on 
the question of the powers and responsibilities of the Advisory Council. 
The Lieutenant Governor held that the Assembly was not entitled to a 
statement of the public accounts on the ground that the moneys were 
granted from the Dominion, and that his responsibility to the Assembly 
was limited to the Territorial revenues alone, and so construed Section 13 
of the N. W. T. Act of 1888, which was as follows : 

"The Lieutenant Governor shall select from among the elected mem- 
bers of the Legislative Assembly four persons to act as an advisory Council 
on matters of finance, who shall severally hold office during pleasure ; and 
the Lieutenant Governor shall preside at all sittings of such advisory 
Council and choose a right to vote as a member thereof, and shall also 
have a casting vote in case of a tie." 

Consequently the first advisory Council resigned on October 29, 1889, 
and a new Council consisting of Messrs. Brett, Betts, Jelly and Richardson 
were appointed. This Council failed to receive the confidence of the As- 
sembly and tendered their resignations November 11, 1889. The Governor 
refused to accept the resignations, stating that they were acting strictly 



within the law. The difficulty reached a crisis on the 14th, when the 
Assembly refused, on the motion of Mr. Haultain, to consider supply for 
1889-90 until the expenditures of 1888-89 had been accounted for. The 
Lieutenant Governor was forced to accept the resignation of the Council. 
He tried to form a new Council with Mr. Tweed, Member for Medicine 
Hat as leader. Mr. Tweed refused unless the claims of the Assembly were 
acceded to. 

On the 21st of November the Assembly adopted a memorial to the 
Dominion Government protesting against the Governor's interpretation 
of the N. W. T. Act and asking for an increased subsidy. On the follow- 
ing day the Assembly was prorogued. The Governor, feeling that he was 
forced by the Constitution to have a council, was obliged to select one 
*'from amongst those willing to comply with the law irrespective of the 
fact whether they possessed the confidence of the House or not." This 
Council appointed February 8, 1890, were: Messrs. Brett, Betts, Jelly and 

The conflict was revived again in the Session of 1890. In the reply 
to the speech from the Throne, the Assembly severely criticised the 
action of the Lieutenant Governor and the Advisory Council, ignored 
the members thereof in selecting the standing committees and refused 
all legislation offered by them. The reply was particularly censorious 
in matters of finance. It pointed out that by the Act creating the 
Assembly, no motion regarding finance might be adopted except it was 
first recommended by the Lieutenant Governor, while the power to pass 
such a motion unquestionably lay with the majority of the Assembly. It 
pointed out further that the Assembly could legislate on few subjects that 
did not involve finance, particularly so of schools. There existed the 
anomaly of the Assembly being responsible for proper legislation regard- 
ing schools, and yet deprived of the control of the funds necessary for the 
maintenance thereof. The Governor in a message to the Assembly defined 
his position clearly and firmly and held he was acting in accordance with 
the interpretation of the law set forth by the Minister of Justice of Can- 
ada. Before the Assembly prorogued the House passed an address to the 
Governor, which was never sent to him but appears on the Journals of the 
House. It sets forth the position of the majority of the members with 
great clearness and ability. The Assembly was prorogued on November 
29th, and dissolved by the efflux of time June following. 

The elections for the second assembly were held on October 31, 1891, 
and the session opened December 10th. J. H. Ross of Moose Jaw was 
elected speaker. In May of this year Messrs, Brett and Betts went to 
Ottawa to secure enlarged powers for the Assembly. An Act amending 
the N. W. T, Act (R. S. C. 1886, Cap, 50), gave power to the Lieutenant 
Governor to dissolve the Assembly at any time, and cause a new one to be 
chosen. The Assembly was to sit separately from the Lieutenant Gover- 
nor. The cause of the various deadlocks in the two past years was re- 


moved by the provision empowering the Assembly to make ordinances 
relating to : The expenditure of Territorial funds and such portions of any 
moneys appropriated by Parliament for the Territories as the Lieutenant 
Governor is authorized to expend by and with the advice of the Legislative 
Assembly or of any committee thereof (54-55 Vict. Cap. 22). 

The Legislative Assembly proceeded at once to act upon the enlarged 
powers granted under the Statute and passed an ordinance dealing with 
the executive government of the Territories. It was held by the Minister 
of Justice (Sir John Thompson), that this Ordinance limited the powers 
of the Lieutenant Governor and was consequently in conflict with the 
terms of the N. W. T. Act which gave the Committee of the Assembly 
power to offer advice to the Lieutenant Governor only in matters of 
finance and expenditure and not to advise him on all matters connected 
with the duties of his office. The next year the Assembly repealed the 
ordinance and substituted legislation for the expenditure of Territorial 
funds and such portions of any moneys appropriated by Parliament for 
the Territories as the Lieutenant Governor was authorized to expend by 
and with the advice of the legislative assembly or any committee thereof. 

The question of separate schools occupied the attention of the Assem- 
bly this session. Memorials from the Roman Catholics in the North West 
Territories to the Governor General in Council had been transmitted to 
the Lieutenant Governor, and laid before the Assembly. These memorials 
were supported by a further memorial to the Standing Committee on Edu- 
cation of the Assembly from Rev. Father Leduc, O. M. L, Vicar General of 
St. Albert, and Mr. A. E. Forget, Roman Catholic member of the Council 
of Public Instruction. The memorials complained that the laws relating 
to education tended to deprive the Roman Catholics of the management 
of their schools as provided by Section 14 of the North West Territories 
Act of 1886, which read as follows : 

"The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall pass all necessary ordi- 
nances in respect to education; but it shall therein always be provided, 
that a majority of the rate-payers of any district or portion of the Terri- 
tories, or of any less portion or subdivision thereof, by whatever name the 
same is known, may establish such schools therein as they think fit, and 
make the necessary assessment and collection of rates therefor; and also 
that the minority of the rate-payers therein, whether Protestant or Roman 
Catholic, may establish separate schools therein, and in such case, the rate- 
payers establishing such Protestant or Roman Catholic separate schools 
shall be liable only to assessment of such rates as they impose upon them- 
selves in respect thereof. 

"The power to pass ordinances, conferred upon the Lieutenant Gov- 
ernor by this section, is hereby declared to have been vested in him from 
the seventh day of May, one thousand eight hundred and eighty." 

Among the rights of which the memorialists alleged they were deprived 
were the discipline of their schools, the grading and licensing of teachers, 


selection of textbooks, inspection of schools by qualified persons of their 
own faith, the right of using the French language and of opening their 
schools by the recitation of prayers. 

The memorials were referred to the Standing Committee on Education. 
The Committee presented a report which was endorsed by a majority of 
the Assembly, the vote being 19 to 3. The report stated that the school 
ordinance in force did not wrongfully deprive the Roman Catholics of the 
right to establish separate schools and that the regulations respecting 
schools should be left in the hands of the Council of Public Instruction. 

This is a convenient place to refer to the use of the French language in 
the North-West. As we have seen, the first white men to reach the west 
were French and French Canadians. Most of the employes of the fur com- 
panies were French Canadians or French Half-breeds. On these grounds 
French was retained for a number of years as one of the oflicial languages 
of the North West Territories. By the North West Territories Act the 
debates of the Assembly and the proceedings before the Courts could be 
conducted in either the French or the English languages. The Journals, 
reports and ordinances could be printed in both the French and English 
languages. But in 1891 the Parliament of Canada amended the North 
West Territories Act giving power to the Assembly of the Territories to 
regulate its proceedings and the manner of recording and publishing the 
same. [54-53 Vict. C. 22, s. 18.] Acting within this power Mr. Haultain 
introduced a resolution in January, 1892, that the proceedings of the 
Assembly be thereafter recorded and published in the English language 

During the elections the question of the liquor traffic excited even 
greater public feeling than the constitutional difi'erences between the 
Lieutenant Governor and the Assembly. By the amendments to the 
N. W. T. Act 1891, referred to above, the Assembly was empowered to 
enact legislation relating to saloon, tavern licenses and other licenses in 
order to raise a revenue for territorial and municipal purposes. Conse- 
quently as soon as the Assembly got a chance it abolished the unsatis- 
factory permit system and established the liquor traffic on the license 
basis. The ordinance provided that no license should be granted in a 
license district where a majority of three-fifths of the electors voted in 
favor of prohibition. Before the Assembly prorogued it passed a resolu- 
tion, a forerunner of many subsequent resolutions, respecting the annual 
appropriation made by the federal government for the government of the 
North West Territories. The population and the necessities for local pub- 
lic improvements were growing rapidly while the subsidy was stationary. 
The resolution reiterated the claim made in 1884 for grants in lieu of 
lands, debt allowance and increased aid for education. In response to this 
memorial the Federal Government invited Mr. Haultain to Ottawa and as 
a result a lump sum of $193,200 was granted, an increase of $40,000. 

The fourth session of the Second Legislative Assembly met on August 


17, 1893. Ordinances were passed regulating mines, and the exportation 
of liquor to portions of Canada outside the Territories. A bill to establish 
a general land tax system was defeated. The words with which the 
Lieutenant Governor Royal dismissed the Assembly indicates the evolution 
of responsible government in the Territories: 

"When on the 4th of July, 1888, I was sworn in as Lieutenant Governor 
of the North West Territories, the functions of that office were as totally 
different from those of the Lieutenant Governors of the Provinces as they 
will be from those performed by my successor. I was responsible to the 
Privy Council of Canada alone for all executive acts done in the Terri- 
tories. The Assembly had hardly a voice in the government of the country 
and the Lieutenant Governor was practically a political commissioner 
under whose direct supervision and authority the affairs of the Territories 
were conducted and administered. Now all this has been changed and 
hence my satisfaction. The legislature today practically enjoys the rights 
and privileges of self-government." 

Hon. C. H. Mackintosh succeeded Hon. Joseph Royal as Lieutenant 
Governor in November, 1893. The fifth session opened at Regina on 
August 2, 1894. The Speech from the Throne contained a review of the 
development of the country for the previous seven years. The number of 
schools had increased from 111 on June 30, 1887, to 372 on June 30, 1894, 
with a school population of about 8000. Expenditure for schools increased 
in the same period from $36,397.47 to $121,056.94. 

The elections for the Third Legislative Assembly of the Territories 
were held October 31, 1894. Hon. J. F. Betts, member for Prince Albert 
East, was elected Speaker when the House met on August 29, 1895. 

The session of 1896 opened September 29th. The separate school ques- 
tion was raised again, but the Assembly adhered to the ordinance as 
passed in conformity with the N. W. T. Act. On October 8th Mr. J. H. 
Ross, member for Moose Jaw, moved for a committee to prepare a me- 
morial to the Dominion setting forth the financial and constitutional posi- 
tion of the Assembly, the need of fuller powers, and the basis upon which 
the Territorial subsidy should be determined. 

On the 23rd the draft was submitted to the Assembly and adopted. 
Full provincial status was not demanded. The committee did not ask for 
right to raise money on the credit of the Territories, the chartering of 
railways and the administration of criminal laws. They asked that the 
executive government be put upon a more constitutional basis, viz. : That 
an executive council be substituted for the advisory committee, a body 
which had no competency to advise the Lieutenant Governor, to control 
dissolution or elections relating to the Assembly, and that the Assembly 
have power to appoint sheriffs, magistrates, coroners and all provincial 

Regarding the finances of the Territories the Assembly reiterated its 
position of 1892, viz. : That a fixed amount in the nature of a subsidy should 


be granted and increased every four years. It was pointed out that 
whereas the population was 66,799 in 1891, and the federal grant $211,200, 
the population in 1896 was 105,000 and the grant only $242,879 ; that is, the 
population had increased 56% while the grant increased only 16%. 
The items of the subsidy asked for were as follows: 

(1) Per capita grant of 80 cents per head on a population of 112,906 

(2) Government and legislation — $50,000. 

(3) Adequate grant in lieu of public lands. 

In pressing the claims in lieu of lands the Assembly urged that the 
revenues arising therefrom accrue to the Dominion of Canada. Land 
subsidies to the extent of 25,000,000 acres valued at $25,000,000 had been 
given to railways in addition to a cash subsidy of $25,000,000, of which 
amount the people of the Territories also bore their proportionate share. 
Had the Dominion of Canada paid the land subsidy in cash there would 
have been added to interest charges of the country the sum of $750,000 
per year. 

The debate on the memorial was the occasion for the first suggestion 
for a separate province of Alberta, the matter being raised by Dr. Brett 
of Banff. 

Important amendments to the school ordinance were made in this ses- 
sion which form the basis upon which grants are still made to the public 
schools of both Alberta and Saskatchewan. 

The demands set forth in the memorial were recognized by the Domin- 
ion Government and in the speech from the Throne at the opening of 
the session of 1897, the Lieutenant Governor announced important changes 
in the Constitution of the Territories whereby, to quote his own words, "A 
completely responsible system of government" was obtained. A true 
executive council was chosen and public departments created for a better 
administration of the public service. Larger powers respecting roads and 
trails and important public works under territorial supervision were 

The ordinances of the Territories were consolidated and a considerable 
body of amending legislation was passed this session to secure simplicity 
and uniformity. 

The session of 1898 was opened on August 16th by His Honour M. C. 
Cameron. During the recess the Yukon Territory had been separated by 
Order in Council from the North West Territories and organized under a 
separate government. The assumption of control by the federal govern- 
ment and the relinquishment thereof by the Territorial Government was 
attended by some little friction, especially respecting liquor permits. The 
Territorial Government sent Mr. G. H. V. Bulyea into the Yukon to issue 
license permits and establish regulations respecting the liquor traffic. 
Major Walsh, Commissioner of the Yukon, under the Dominion Govern- 
ment, who arrived later, refused to recognize the authority of the Terri- 


torial Government, and conducted the traffic under regulations defined 
by the Mounted PoHce. Consequently two sets of permits were issued. 
In the end the Minister of Justice decided that the permits issued by the 
Government of the North West Territories were valid. Subsequently the 
Dominion Parliament passed the Yukon Territory Act superseding the 
Order in Council of 1897 and extinguishing the jurisdiction of the North 
West Territories over that part of Canada. 

Before the Legislature prorogued Mr. Haultain introduced a resolu- 
tion upon a question that has engaged the attention of legislators in the 
North-West since the beginning of western colonization. It relates to 
lands granted to railway or colonization companies. Invariably the policy 
of the corporations has been to withhold the land from sale or settlement, 
and avoid taxation by keeping the land valid in the Crown until it is pur- 
chased on a long instalment plan and the purchaser obtains the patent 
thereof. In his budget speech in 1897 Mr. Haultain showed that out of 
grants of nearly 6,000,000 acres, and consequently lands not available for 
taxes, only 204,000 acres had been patented. The resolution petitioned the 
Federal Government to force the location and issue of patents for all lands 
to which railway and colonization companies were entitled, so that they 
might bear their just proportion of taxes for schools, local improvements 
and other purposes. 

His Honour M. C. Cameron died on September 26th, and was succeeded 
by His Honour A. E. Forget, for many years Clerk of the North West 

A new election was held on November 4, 1898, and the Assembly met 
on April 4, 1899. The Assembly consisted of 31 members, a number of 
new districts having been created by the Redistribution Bill of 1898. Wm. 
Eakin, member for Saltcoats, was elected Speaker. 

The militia system was extended to the North West Territories in 1900. 

From this period to the passing of the Alberta and Saskatchewan Acts 
the important question in the Territories was provincial autonomy, though 
there was a difference of opinion among the members of the Assembly 
whether there should be one province or two. It annually formed the 
subject of correspondence and negotiation between the Government of the 
North West Territories and the Dominion Government until the Autonomy 
Acts were passed in 1905. The memorial of the Assembly dated May 2, 
1900, was followed in December 1901 by an elaborate memorandum from 
Mr. Haultain in which the whole question was reviewed and the prob- 
lem stated. The Government of the Territories drew up a Bill of Rights 
which claimed all the powers of one of the old provinces of Canada. 

On March 21, 1901, Hon. A. L. Sifton, who had accepted the position 
of Chief Justice of Alberta, was succeeded in the Department of Public 
Works by Hon. G. H. V. Bulyea. The control of the Land Titles' Offices 
and Registration Districts was transferred from the Dominion to the Ter- 
ritorial Government in 1903. 


The session was brief, the usual memorial for provincial institutions 
was sent to Ottawa. 

The last session of the Assembly of the North West Territories met on 
September 22, 1904, and prorogued on October 8th. 

Party lines were always indefinitely drawn in the Assembly of the 
North West Territories, due, it is believed, to the influence of Mr. Haultain, 
Mr. Ross and Mr. Oliver. There was an unwritten but strong obligation 
recognized that the good government of the Territories depended upon the 
elimination of federal politics and the decision of all questions relating to 
the North-West on their merits as affecting the welfare of the Territories. 

W^ith the passing of the Autonomy Acts in 1905 party lines became 
clearly drawn, dividing the public men of the Territories into two distinct 

The Alberta Act came into force on September 1, 1905. Hon. G. H. V. 
Bulyea was appointed Lieutenant Governor, August 24, 1905. On Septem- 
ber 1st, Hon. A. C. Rutherford, M. P. P. for Strathcona in the Territorial 
Assembly, was called upon to form the first Government of Alberta. On 
September 9th, the following appointments were gazetted : 

President of the Council, Provincial Treasurer and Minister of Educa- 
tion, Hon. A. C. Rutherford, Strathcona; Attorney-General, Hon. C. W. 
Cross, Edmonton ; Minister of Public Works, Hon. W. H. Gushing, Cal- 
gary ; Provincial Secretary and Minister of Agriculture, Hon. W. T. Fin- 
lay; Hon. L. G. DeVeber became Minister without portfolio. In 1906 the 
latter was appointed to the Senate, and the Executive was reduced to 
four members. 

The first general election was held on November 9th, 1905. The princi- 
pal issues dividing the parties were the rights of minorities to establish 
separate schools, and the ownership of public lands. The alignment of 
parties in the Province naturally followed that of the Federal parties. Ref- 
erence has been made already to both of these questions. The framing of 
the Provincial constitution raised these questions again, and this time 
for final settlement. 

As far as the matter of schools was concerned, the Alberta Act has 
settled that issue finally, but the ownership of the Crown Lands of the 
Province is still a live and unsettled question. Sir Wilfred Laurier, Pre- 
mier of Canada and leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, introduced the 
bill for the creation of the Province of Alberta in February, 1905. 

The school clause of the Bill provided that the minority should have 
the right to establish their own schools and to share in the public funds 
for t'le maintenance of such schools. An ambiguity in the construction of 
the clause caused a sharp division in public opinion throughout the coun- 
try, and especially in the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec. As the 
clause was first drawn, it was held by the opponents of separate schools 
that it re-established out and out denominational schools, on the basis of 
the North West Territories Act of 1875, under which Roman Catholic 


Separate Schools had been established, with complete ecclesiastical con- 
trol of finance, inspection, teaching and textbooks. These rights had been 
considerably restricted by the Territorial Assembly in 1892, limiting the 
right to establish separate schools to those sections in which the Catholics 
were in a minority, and limiting religious teaching to a nominal half hour 
at the close of the day. Later, Ordinances and regulations enforced by 
the authority of the Assembly, provided for uniform curricula, qualifica- 
tions of teachers and inspections in all schools, public or separate. 

The Conservative leaders in Parliament, and their followers in both 
houses, strongly opposed the clause in this form. Hon. Cliflford Sifton, 
Minister of the Interior and the representative of the North West Terri- 
tories in the Laurier Cabinet, resigned in protest against the clause, in 
which action he carried the support of many Liberals in all parts of the 
North West Territories and in Eastern Canada. Mr. F. W. G. Haultain, 
Premier of the North West Territories, and Mr. R. B. Bennett, the mem- 
ber for Calgary in the Territorial Assembly, led a fiery crusade against 
the clause. The opposition and the hostility of many Liberals that such 
a law would be incompatible with the long-declared liberal principle of 
Provincial rights led the Federal Government to amend the clause to 
make it certain that it conformed to the law passed by the Territorial 
Assembly, and then in force in the North West Territories; that is, the 
rights of minorities were those defined in the Territorial Ordinances of 
1892 and 1901. 

On the Land question the Liberals of the Province supported Sir Wil- 
fred Laurier. The Conservative Party led by Mr. F. W. G. Haultain, in 
Saskatchewan, and Mr. R. B. Bennett in Alberta, contended that all lands, 
mines, and minerals situated in the Provinces of Alberta and Saskatche- 
wan should belong to the respective Provinces in the same way that those 
resources belong to the older Provinces of the Canadian Confederation, 
that is to say, the public lands should belong to the Crown in the right of 
the Province of Alberta, and in the right of the Province of Saskatchewan 
and not to the Crown in the right of the Dominion of Canada. The Liberal 
party led by Hon. A. C. Rutherford in Alberta, and Hon. Walter Scott in 
Saskatchewan, contended that the money grant in lieu of lands was a 
more satisfactory settlement of the question. Public opinion in the new 
Provinces was emphatically expressed at the polls. Premier Rutherford 
carried Alberta 23 seats to 2, and Premier Scott, in Saskatchewan, won 
16 seats to 8. ' 

The land question is still unsettled, although both parties, in fact all 
parties in the Province, agree that the lands should belong to the Province. 
In 1911, Premier Sifton, who had succeeded Premier Rutherford as Liberal 
leader, presented a formal demand to the Dominion Government to trans- 
fer the lands, mines and minerals still in the Crown, except the homestead 
lands, to the Province. Before any action could be taken upon the subject, 
the Liberal party led by Sir Wilfred Laurier, was defeated in the Federal 


•General Elections in October, 1911. The demand was renewed in 1913 by 
the three Prairie Provinces, and signed jointly by Premiers Sifton of 
Alberta, Scott of Saskatchewan and Roblin of Manitoba. Subsequent 
demands were made in 1919, and a conference of the Premiers of all the 
Provinces was held at Ottawa. It was found, however, that the older Prov- 
inces of Canada objected to a revision of the Alberta Act in this respect, 
and to the transfer of the lands to the Prairie Provinces without com- 
pensation, and readjustment of subsidies in favour of the older members 
of confederation. There the issue lies today. 

(;hapter VIII. 


The first Legislative Assembly of Alberta met at Edmonton on March 
15, 1906. Hon. C. W. Fisher, Cochrane, was elected Speaker and Mr. J. 
R. Cowell, of Red Deer, was clerk of the Assembly. Mr. A. J. Robertson, 
Nanton, led the opposition of two. The first duty of the Assembly was 
to organize the various departments of the public service. Many of the 
members of the Civil Service of the Territories were moved from Regina 
to Edmonton, and the various records applicable to the new Province 
transferred to the new capital. 

One of the burning questions of the session was the determination of 
the capital of Alberta. There was strong rivalry between the cities of 
Calgary and Edmonton. The to\vTis of Strathcona, Red Deer and Banff 
also desired the honor. The issue was settled by the Assembly by a vote 
of 16 to 8 in favor of Edmonton. Important measures of legislation in- 
cluded a complete revision of the Territorial law on real property, taxa- 
tion of the right of way of railways, bonusing the sugar beet industry, and 
an act to enable municipalities to establish and operate telephones. The 
taxation of railways was very popular with the people, as it was regarded 
as a measure particularly aimed at the Canadian Pacific Railway Com- 
pany, which had enjoyed exemption from taxation since its incorporation 
in 1881. The law was contested by the Canadian Pacific Railway Com- 
pany in the courts and was held intra vires, only with respect to the 
Company's branch lines. 

The most important public measure in 1907 was the decision of the 
Government to build rural telephone lines and trunk telephone lines to 
protect the public from what the Government alleged was the monopoly 
of the Bell Telephone Company. Overtures were made to this Company 
by the Government towards purchasing the Bell System in Alberta, but 
without success. In pursuance of its policy the Government built five 
hundred miles of trunk telephone lines between Lloydminster, Edmonton 
and Calgary. In matters of legislation the Railway Act was regarded as 
very radical, providing as it did for the acquisition by the Province of 
any railway under Provincial jurisdiction. 

New measures of taxation provided for taxing corporations and as- 
sessing lands outside of school districts. The latter taxes were ear- 
marked for the support of education. 



Federal elections were looming up. Both parties held conventions to 
prepare their organizations for the approaching political battle. The 
Conservatives met at Red Deer, June 27th. The Liberals met four hun- 
dred strong at Calgary, October 22nd. These events marked the end of 
the isolation of Western provincial politics from federal politics. Both 
parties lined up behind their respective federal parties and for many 
years federal and provincial issues have been inextricably tangled. 

Not much legislation was attempted in 1908. The most important 
Acts were the Workmen's Compensation Act, and an Act to empower the 
Government to purchase, lease, construct, maintain and operate telephone 
and telegraph systems and to issue debentures for the same. The Gov- 
ernment issued four per cent thirty-year debentures, the first money bor- 
rowed by the Province of Alberta for extension of the Provincial telephone 

The session of 1909 was a busy and important one. The life of the 
first Legislative Assembly was drawing to a close and legislation for cre- 
ating machinery for holding an election was necessary. The Legislative 
Assembly Act was revised and the membership of that body increased to 
41, one member for each constituency, excepting Calgary and Edmonton, 
which were given two members each. The term of the Assembly was in- 
creased from four to five years. A new Election Act was passed deal- 
ing with corrupt practices, qualification of voters, lists, registration and 
other matters in a manner more in keeping with the improvement of the 
country than was possible under the old Territorial law. The great ques- 
tion of the session was railways. The two leaders in the Legislature were 
equally emphatic in their public utterances in support of a forward rail- 
way policy. The rapid settlement of the Province in districts remote from 
the main lines rendered this the greatest need of the day. Accordingly, 
the Government decided upon the policy which seemed very popular in 
those days, of guaranteeing the securities of branch lines of the Canadian 
Northern, Grand Trunk Pacific, and the Alberta and Great Waterways 
Railway Companies. 

This involved a total mileage of 1,761 miles, and a Provincial guaran- 
tee of $25,343,000. On the C. N. R. and G. T. P. lines were guarantees 
to the extent of $13,000 per mile, the bonds to run for thirty years at four 
per cent. In the case of the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway, 
which was designed to connect Edmonton with the river system of the 
North, the guarantee was for $20,000 per mile, the bonds to run for fifty 
years at five per cent. 

On this policy the Rutherford ministry appealed to the electors on 
March 22nd. Meanwhile, the Conservatives held a Provincial Convention 
at Red Deer, and issued what was long afterwards known as the "Red 
Deer Platform." On the important questions of the hour there was little 
dilference in the policies of the two parties. The Government won an 
overwhelming victory at the polls, the standing of the parties being one 






Socialist, three Conservatives and thirty-seven Liberals. Mr. R. B. Ben- 
nett, who had been defeated in 1905, and though not the official leader of 
the Opposition, was the real leader of the Conservatives in the campaign, 
and was elected for one of the Calgary seats. He vigorously denounced 
the Alberta and Great Waterways project, a portent of the storm he 
was to launch in the following session. 

On October 3rd the corner stone of the new Parliament Building was 
laid by Earl Grey, Governor-General of Canada. Hon. W. T. Finlay, 
Minister of Agriculture, resigned on October 21st, on account of ill 
health, and was succeeded by Hon. Duncan Marshall. At the same time 
Premier Rutherford enlarged his Cabinet by adding two Ministers with- 
out portfolio, Hon. W. A. Buchanan and Hon. P. E. Lessard. 

For five years the politics of the Province had been placid and un- 
eventful and the administration of public affairs progressive and honest. 
The session of 1910 witnessed a perturbation and upheaval that split the 
Liberal party into two factions, which more than a decade afterwards still 
regarded each other with some jealousy and distrust. 

The subject of dissension was the guaranteeing of the bonds of the 
Alberta and Great Waterways Railway Company and the details of the 
agreement made between the Railway Company and the Government for 
the construction of the road. During the autumn of 1909 the Railway 
Company succeeded in selling the bonds to the firm of J. P. Morgan & 
Company, of New York and London, at par, the proceeds of which, 
$7,400,000, were deposited in certain banks in Edmonton to the credit 
of the Government. The Railway Company, of which W. R. Clarke, of 
Kansas City, an aggressive railway promoter, was President, signed an 
agreement with the Government on October 25th, for the construction 
of the railway. The next step was to organize the Canada West Con- 
struction Company, a subsidiary concern, to build the road. The Railway 
Company then assigned its rights in the proceeds of the bonds to the Con- 
struction Company, which, in turn, assigned its rights to the Royal Bank 
of Canada as security for advances made to the Construction Company 
for work done upon the railway. Meanwhile, the bonds had been resold 
to various investors at 110 by the Morgans, or $740,000 profit. Enemies 
of the Government jumped to the conclusion that President Clarke and 
certain members of the Government secretly participated in this profit. 
A good many members of the Legislature, who apparently thought the 
Morgans were in the bond business for others, and not for themselves, 
were influenced by these insinuations. It was afterwards proven at the 
investigation of the Royal Commission that these charges were untrue. 

The Assembly met on February 10th. A few innocent questions 
on the order paper in the opening days of the session were the first signs 
of the storm that finally overthrew the Government. On the 14th, Hon. 
W. H. Gushing resigned on the grounds as stated in his letter to Premier 
Rutherford, that he had not been consulted in the negotiations leading 


up to the agreement, and that the agreement and specifications signed by 
Premier Rutherford as Minister of Railways, with the Alberta and Great 
Waterways Railway Company, failed to protect the interests of the Prov- 
ince. In his statement to the Assembly, Premier Rutherford denied these 
allegations and asserted the negotiations were concluded with the full 
concurrence of the entire cabinet. Overtures were then made by Presi- 
dent Clarke of the Railway on February 23rd to improve the conditions 
of the agreement and build a better road than required by the specifica- 
tions of the original contract. These overtures were met by a resolution 
presented by J. R. Boyle and D. Warnock, purporting to expropriate the 
rights of the Railway Company, vest the same in the Province and pro- 
ceed at once with the construction of the railway under the supervision 
of a Commission appointed by the Legislature. This resolution precipi- 
tated the most furious and acrimonious debate that has ever taken place 
in the Alberta Legislature. Public feeling ran high for and against 
the Government, and hundreds more than could be accommodated in the 
galleries struggled for admittance at every sitting. Mr. Gushing ex- 
plained the reasons for his resignation, and stated that the railway could 
be built according to the specifications of the contract for $12,000 per 
mile. In rebuttal Premier Rutherford submitted the estimate of the Gov- 
ernment's Engineer, Mr. R. W. Jones, of $20,000, and the Company's esti- 
mate of §27,000 per mile. Attorney-General Cross stoutly defended the 
agreement and the whole project. Two amendments were offered to Mr. 
Boyle's resolution. One by E. H. Riley and J. M. Glendenning was a 
straight want of confidence in the Government. The other by J. W. Woolf 
and John A. McDougall called for the acceptance of President Clarke's 
offer to revise the contract and improve the specifications, and to set aside 
$1,000,000 as a guarantee for the completion and operation of the road. 
The climax of the debate was reached in the speech of Mr. R. B. Bennett, 
the leader of the Conservatives, on March 2nd. He spoke for five hours 
and made such an impression on the Liberal insurgents that they incor- 
porated Mr. Riley's amendment into Mr. Boyle's resolution. Notwith- 
standing, the Government was sustained by a vote of 23 to 15. The 
insurgents, now acting with the Conservatives, refused to accept the deci- 
sion of the House as final, and with the support of the two strongest Lib- 
eral newspapers in the Province, the Edmonton Bulletin and the Calgary 
Albertan, agitated for a new Government led by Chief Justice Sifton, 
Hon. Peter Tabot, or Hon. W. H. Gushing. On March 8th, Premier Ruth- 
erford invited Mr. Gushing to return to the Cabinet since a new agree- 
ment was to be made and he was loath to break with his old colleague. 
Hon. C. W. Cross refused to stay in the government if Mr. Gushing re- 
turned, and tendered his resignation next day. He was followed by Hon. 
W. A. Buchanan. Mr. Gushing refused to come back and Mr. Cross with- 
drew his resignation. These events gave the insurgents and the Opposi- 
tion the opportunity they had been seeking, and they promptly moved a 


no-confidence motion, which was lost by the narrow majority of 3, the vote 
standing 20 to 17. 

It was dear the Government could not carry on the business of the 
House efficiently until the cloud of rumors that filled the country was dis- 
pelled. On the 14th Premier Rutherford presented and carried unani- 
mously a resolution drawn up by Attorney-General Cross and Mr. Bennett 
appointing a Royal Commission, Hon. D. L, Scott, Hon. Horace Harvey 
and Hon. N. D. Black, three Justices of the Supreme Court, to investigate 
the relations of the members of the Government, members of the Legisla- 
ture and ofl^cials of the Government in connection with the incorporation 
and organization of the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway Company, 
the guaranteeing of the bonds of the Railway, and the contract for build- 
ing the railway. 

The House voted supplies for five months and after authorizing the 
construction of twenty-five miles of the railway adjourned on March 17th 
until May 26th. The Royal Commission had not completed its labors when 
the House reassembled on May 26th. The Lieutenant Governor informed 
the members he had accepted Premier Rutherford's resignation and had 
called upon Hon. A. L. Sifton, Chief Justice of Alberta, to form a Gov- 
ernment. Mr. Sifton accepted the responsibility and on June 3rd an- 
nounced his ministry as follows : 

President of the Council, Provincial Treasurer and Minister of Public 
Works, Hon. Arthur Lewis Sifton ; Attorney-General and Minister of Edu- 
cation, Hon. Charles Richmond Mitchell, Medicine Hat; Provincial Secre- 
tary, Hon. Archibald J. McLean, Lethbridge; Minister of Agriculture, Hon. 
Duncan Marshall, Olds. 

The choice of Mr. Sifton for Premier was not unanimous among the 
members of the Assembly. Certain members wanted ex-Attorney Gen- 
eral C. W. Cross, others ex-Minister of Public Works W. H. Gushing, and 
J. R. Boyle to be in the new Government. E. H. Riley, Gleichen, resigned 
his seat as a protest against the exclusion of Mr. Gushing. The new Min- 
isters all found seats in the bye-elections June 29th, but Mr. Riley was 
defeated by a Sifton supporter, Mr. A. J. McArthur, in Gleichen. Though 
the supporters of Mr. Cross were sorely disappointed he generously de- 
clared his adherence to the Sifton Government. 

The Royal Commission completed its investigations on July 7th, and 
submitted a majority report signed by Messrs. Justice Harvey and Jus- 
tice Scott, and a minority report signed by Mr. Justice Beck, a few days 
before the legislature met in November. The majority report considered 
the Government as mildly censurable in some of its arrangements and 
actions, but completely exonerated Premier Rutherford and Attorney-Gen- 
eral Cross from having any personal interest in the scheme or negotiations. 
The minority report exonerated the Government and criticised Mr. Gush- 
ing for his actions in the affair. Ten years have passed, and nothing has 
ever been discovered that reflected on the honesty of the members of the 


Rutherford Government in all transactions with the Alberta and Great 
Waterways Railway Company. 

Public interest in the Report of the Commission soon died down in the 
face of Premier Sifton's policy in dealing with the Alberta and Great 
Waterways Railway. In July the Railway Company defaulted in the pay- 
ment of the first instalment of the interest and the Government was com- 
pelled to pay it to the Morgans in London. The company did nothing 
during the summer toward construction. President Clarke refused to 
testify before the Royal Commission. The Railway Company became very 
unpopular with the public and the legislature. On November 24th Premier 
Sifton introduced a bill which afterwards passed the House, declaring that 
the proceeds and interest accruing from the sale of the bonds of the Alberta 
and Great Waterways Railway Company should become part of the gen- 
eral revenue of the Province and might be expended for any purpose 
authorized by the Legislature. The measure was vigorously opposed by 
ex-Premier Rutherford, Mr. Cross, Mr. Bennett, the entire Conservative 
opposition and a number of Liberals, followers of Mr. Cross, particularly 
Mr. James K. Cornwall, who had been instrumental in securing the organi- 
zation of the Railway Company to develop the Northland. Immediately 
after the passing of the Act the Government served notice on the Royal 
Bank and presented a cheque for $6,042,830.06, being the amount stand- 
ing to the credit of the Province in a special account and representing 
the portion of the proceeds of the Alberta and Great Waterways bonds 
deposited in that bank. The bank refused to pay the cheque and the Gov- 
ernment immediately sued the bank for the amount. The litigation dragged 
on over two years and at times greatly embarrassed the Government. 
Although it is anticipating the events in this chapter, we shall follow the 
incidents and turns of this political imbroglio to their conclusion at once. 

The trial of the issue was heard by Hon. Justice Stewart of the Su- 
preme Court of Alberta in November, 1911, who gave judgment for the 
Province. His decision was upheld by the Court en Banc in April, 1912. 
Meanwhile, the Railway Company appealed to the Minister of Justice of 
Canada to recommend the disallowance of the Act to the Governor-in- 
Council. The Minister of Justice finally decided that the Act should not 
be disallowed on the ground that it would be prejudicial to the credit of 
the Dominion and not advisable in the interests of the Province to take 
legislative measures to prevent the improvident application of the funds. 
The bank appealed from the decision of the Alberta Courts in January, 
1913, to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The Privy Council 
sustained the appeal of the Royal Bank and declared that the legislature 
had no power to convert the funds raised for the specific purpose of build- 
ing the railway into general revenue for other purposes and that the 
lenders were entitled to a return of their money if the objects for which 
the money was raised were not carried out. This right was a right out- 


side the Province over which the Legislature had no jurisdiction. The 
Act was therefore ultra vires. 

The decision was an embarrassing one for the Government. So con- 
fident was the Government of its position in the case that the Treasurer 
issued short term Treasury bills expecting to repay them with the money 
held up in the banks. It left the Government with a large temporary 
indebtedness on its hands which had to be met and gave the opposition 
strong party material in the Legislature and in the elections which fol- 
lowed in April, 1913. The decision was such a sudden reversal of the 
Government's policy that nothing was done in the first session of 1913, 
and at the conclusion of the session in March, Premier Sifton promised 
nothing would be done without consulting the Legislature, Accordingly, 
a session was called early in the fall of that year. The Act passed in 
1910, which the Privy Council declared ultra vires, was repealed, and 
arrangements were made with Mr. J. D. McArthur, a well-known and 
reliable railway contractor, to proceed with the construction of the Al- 
berta and Great Waterways Railway, to be completed by the end of 
1915. The intervention of the war, the great increase in the cost of labor 
and materials, drove the contractor into bankruptcy and the Government 
was compelled to take over the construction of the road under circum- 
stances that rendered the cost much higher than was originally provided 

At last the Alberta and Great Waterways imbroglio was settled. At 
this date, and after several years have passed, it is difficult to understand 
why such acrimonious dissension should have arisen and why a ministry 
recently endorsed in a general election, and with an outstanding record 
of progressive legislation and efficient administration should have been 
forced out of office. But it was the first experience the Alberta legisla- 
ture had with railway companies and railway contractors. The major 
criticism of the project by the members of the Assembly and press was 
that the Railway Company had no capital of its own. It did not yet occur 
to these ingenuous novices that the railways of the West have been built 
by men with faith and other people's money — much of it the money of 
the people of Canada, 

Going back to the events of 1910 again the Conservatives held a Con- 
vention in July and elected Edward Michener, member for Red Deer, as 
leader of the Opposition, a position he held until he was appointed to the 
Senate in December, 1917, Mr, R, B, Bennett had retired to contest the 
Federal riding of Calgary in the election of September, 1911. 

The second session of 1910 marked the first move on the part of the 
Liberal party in the Province to modify its position of 1905 on the ques- 
tion of the public lands, mines and other natural resources held by the 
Dominion pursuant to the Alberta Act. A motion presented by A. Bram- 
ley-Moore and James K. Cornwall was unanimously supported. But the 
motion was withdrawn, Premier Sifton stating that the Government was 


preparing a formal demand for the transfer of the natural resources to 
Alberta. This attitude had been adopted by Premier Sifton as soon as 
he became Premier a few months before, and apparently he found the rank 
and file of the party willing- followers. 

A number of bye-elections were held in 1911, all going against the 
Government. The new members of the Opposition were : Messrs. T. M. 
Tweedie, Calgary ; H. W. Riley, Gleichen ; Robert Patterson, Macleod ; and 
J. S. Stewart, Lethbridge. The session held the following year was the 
first in which the Government was opposed by a regularly organized, 
eifective opposition. 

The policy of encouraging railway construction by a guarantee of 
bonds was continued. During the session over 1,800 miles of railway 
lines were assisted in this way, as follows : 

(1) Grand Trunk Pacific, Bickerdike to the coal fields on the Em- 
barras River, 58 miles, at $20,000 per mile. 

(2) Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia, Edmonton to Peace 
River Valley, along the south shore of Lesser Slave Lake to Dunvegan, 
350 miles, at |20,000 per mile. 

(3) Canadian Northern Railway: 

(a) Athabaska Landing to Fort McMurray, 175 miles at $15,000 
per mile. 

(b) From above line eastward to Lac la Biche, 40 miles, at $15,000 
per mile, 

(c) Athabaska Landing to Peace River Landing, 100 miles, at $15,- 
000 per mile. 

(d) Onoway to Pine River Pass, 250 miles, at $20,000 per mile. 

(e) Edmonton to St. Paul de Metis, 100 miles at $13,000 per mile. 

(f) Bruederheim to Vermilion, Wainwright and Medicine Hat, 200 
miles, at $13,000 per mile. 

(g) Calgary to Brazeau River, 100 miles, at $13,000 per mile, 
(h) Camrose to eastern boundary, 80 miles, at $13,000 per mile, 
(i) Cochrane to Edmonton, 100 miles, at $15,000 per mile. 

(j) Calgary towards Saskatoon, 130 miles, at $13,000 per mile. 

The total railway securities guaranteed by these Acts involved $25,- 
755,000. The total railway mileage guaranteed in the Province at that 
date was 3,074 miles involving $44,098,000. 

Very few guarantees were given by the Legislature after this session. 
It will be noticed the Canadian Pacific Railway did not share in this 
catalogue of guarantees so lavishly bestowed on the Canadian Northern 
Railway Company. It was a fine example of the methods of the Canadian 
Northern Railway interests in pre-empting territory for their lines to 
forestall their competitors. Many of these lines were never built on 
account of the intervention of the war, and happily for the taxpayers of 
the Province of Alberta, the Canadian Northern Railway Lines have been 


taken over by the Government of Canada and thus a heavy burden in 
annual interest charges has been thrown upon broader shoulders. 

The Cabinet was enlarged in 1912 to include eight members. Two 
new departments were organized. The municipal legislation of the ses- 
sion of that year and the necessity of assisting and supervising the ex- 
tension of local Government rendered a department of Municipal Affairs 
necessary. The Railway Acts and the pledging of the credit of the Prov- 
ince to guarantees of bonds made it advisable to create a new Department 
of Railways which was combined with Telephones. Besides the neces- 
sities of the public service there was also the pressure of party factions 
that induced Premier Sifton to stabilize his position as leader of the 
Liberal Party by taking in Hon. C. W. Cross and some of the leaders of 
the old insurgent group that overthrew the Rutherford Government, but 
had been left out of Mr. Sifton's first cabinet, two years before. The 
new ministry was announced May 4th as follows: Premier and Minister 
of Railways and Telephones, Hon. Arthur Lewis Sifton ; Attorney-Gen- 
eral, Hon. Charles Wilson Cross ; Minister of Public Works, Hon. Charles 
Richmond Mitchell; Provincial Secretary, Hon. Archibald J. McLean; 
Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Duncan Marshall; Provincial Treasurer, 
Hon. Malcolm MacKenzie; Minister of Education, Hon. John Robert 
Boyle; Minister of Municipal Affairs, Hon. Charles Stewart. 

The bye-elections were held on May 27th. All the new Ministers 
carried their seats, but with reduced majorities. On the same date a 
bye-election was held in Cardston, where Mr. Martin Woolf, the Liberal 
candidate, succeeded Mr. J. W. Woolf, who had resigned his seat to reside 
in the United States. Protests, the first in Alberta, were filed against 
the return of Mr. Cross and Mr. MacKenzie, citing charges and alleging 
various kinds of political corruption. The petition against the election 
of Mr. Mackenzie was dismissed by the Supreme Court, while the one 
against Mr. Cross was before the courts when the General Election was 
held in the spring of 1913. 

The results of the bye-elections, though strongly in favor of the Gov- 
ernment, indicated that the Conservative Party was gradually recovering 
from the sweeping defeats of 1905 and 1909. A Provincial general elec- 
tion was now in sight. A Provincial Convention of the Conservative 
Party was held in Calgary on March 6th and 7th, attended by four hun- 
dred delegates. An elaborate platform covering Provincial and Federal 
issues was adopted. In the light of subsequent events some of the prin- 
ciples and policies adopted are exceedingly interesting. The Convention 
declared for an independent audit of the provincial accounts as soon as 
the party succeeded at the polls. Since that date the Liberal Party has 
been defeated, and its successor, the United Farmers' Party, has carried 
out this policy, and made an independent audit. The Convention pledged 
itself to legislation embodying the principle of the Initiative, Referendum 
and Recall. In the following year the Sifton Government passed the Di- 


rect Legislation Act, providing for the Initiative and Referendum, omit- 
ting the Recall. The law was never invoked except in case of restricting 
the sale of intoxicating liquors in 1915. The Initiative, the Referendum 
and especially the Recall, have never been popular with the old line parties 
in the Province. Few Conservatives in Alberta today adhere to this plank 
of their platform adopted in 1912. But the principle has been adopted in 
its entirety by the Farmers' Party and many members of that Party in 
the Assembly have placed their resignations in escrow in the hands of the 
United Farmers' Executive of the districts they represent. 

The new Parliament Buildings were opened this year (1912) by H. 
R. H. the Duke of Connaught and celebrated by a state dinner, followed 
the next day by a Grand Levee in the Assembly Hall. The new buildings 
were erected on the site of the Hudson's Bay Fort, which stood there 
from the early years of the 19th century. 

The last session of the second Legislature opened on February 10th. 
It was a very busy session and the program of legislation indicated the 
approach of the elections. A redistribution bill was passed increasing 
the number of constituencies to 56. Acts were passed establishing Agri- 
cultural High Schools, Consolidated Schools, Co-Operative Associations, 
Assistance to the Farmers' Co-Operative Elevator Company, Direct Legis- 
lation. Increased taxing powers were given to towns and villages and an 
act designed to protect farmers from harsh treatment at the hands of im- 
plement dealers, the Farm Machinery Act was put on the Statute Book. 
The opposition was very critical of the Government's railway policy, and 
presented a resolution condemning the exemption of the railways guaran- 
teed by the Government from taxation. The resolution was defeated by 
a straight party vote, Mr. Sifton declaring that it was the policy of the 
Liberal Government to encourage railway construction, and that at a time 
when nearly 3,500 miles of railways had been guaranteed by the Province 
it was bad policy to begin taxing them. 

The elections were held on April 17th, 1913, and resulted in the return 
of 38 Liberals and 18 Conservatives. Mr. C. R. Mitchell, Minister of 
Public Works, was defeated by Mr. Nelson Spencer, Medicine Hat, and 
Mr. A. G. MacKay, who was Mr. Cross' running mate in Edmonton, was 
defeated by Mr. A. F. Ewing. George Lane, the famous rancher, who 
was elected in Bow Valley over H W. Riley, resigned in favor of the 
Minister of Public Works. Mr. Mitchell was returned in the bye-election 
and so held his seat in the Cabinet. A crop of petitions grew out of the 
election, the most notable being in the Clearwater Constituency against 
the return of H. W. McKenney, the objection alleged being how could 105 
votes be polled in a Constituency that had only 74 voters residing in the 
whole Constituency. The petition against Mr. A. S. Shandro, of Whit- 
ford, was successful, and Mr. Shandro was unseated. Mr. Shandro was 
the first Austrian-born citizen of the Province to be elected to the Legis- 
lature of Alberta. He was born in Galicia, emigrating to Canada when 




a lad. He rapidly assimilated Canadian ideas and methods, and soon 
became a leader among his people. He represented the almost wholly- 
Russian Constituency of Whitford until 1921. A notable addition to the 
Legislature this year occurred in the return of Mr. A. G. MacKay in the 
deferred election in Athabasca. Mr. MacKay had formerly been leader of 
the Liberal Party in Ontario and quickly rose to a commanding position 
in the Legislature of Alberta. 

At the opening of the new Legislature in September, Hon. C. W. 
Fisher was elected speaker for the third time, an honor that he held until 
his death at the end of the session of 1919. The principal business was 
the settlement of the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway question by 
the execution of an agreement to build the railway with Mr. J. D. Mc- 
Arthur, according to the Act of Incorporation of the Railway Company. 
Other legislation of importance was the taxation of the Unearned In- 
crement on land. The new measure imposed a tax of five per cent at the 
time of registration upon the increased value of the land excluding the 
improvements. A new Libel and Slander Act was passed and Juvenile 
Courts established. 

After the session Mr. Wilfred Gariepy, member for Beaver River, 
was taken into the Cabinet as Minister of Municipal Affairs. Hon. Mr. 
Stewart was transferred to the Department of Public Works. Hon. Mr. 
Mitchell, who held the latter portfolio, became Provincial Treasurer. 
Premier Sifton had acted as Treasurer since the death of Hon. Malcolm 
MacKenzie in the previous March, but now desired to give his sole atten- 
tion to the extension of railways and telephones. 

The financial position of the Province was stated by the Premier on 
September 30th, to be a total outstanding indebtedness of $15,741,981. 
The total amount of authorized railway bond guarantees was |68,631,800, 
of which $30,124,700 were issued. The assets of the Province were esti- 
mated at $110,378,000. 

The beginning of 1914 marks the advent of a more settled period in 
Alberta politics than characterized the events of the previous four years. 
Premier Sifton, by fearless and dexterous leadership triumphed over all 
his difficulties. Intellectually brilliant, a master of men, and endowed 
with a canny insight into their minds, familiar by long residence in the 
country with its deepest problems, a reformer, sometimes of an icon- 
oclastic turn, and often arrogantly democratic, he was an ideal leader. 
He was implicitly trusted and sometimes feared by his colleagues in the 
Cabinet. He was always master of the House. His followers on the back 
benches believed he could lead them safely through every attack of the 
opposition, and he always did. He rarely left the House during a sitting. 
During a protracted debate, he generally tilted his chair backward into 
a comfortable position. A dry cynical smile froze on his face, making it 
impossible for an opponent to detect the working of his mind. If the 
House was in Committee he sat in the same position, nonchalantly smok- 


ing his black cigar, and except for an occasional raising of his eyebrows 
and the flashing of his piercing eyes, he sat as motionless as a statue and 
as silent as a sphinx. But when the moment came for him to reply he 
seemed to boil over with indignation and poured out a torrent of scath- 
ing ridicule, bitter taunts or inexorable logic, whichever he deemed nec- 
essary to rout his opponents. 

Political events in 1914 were eclipsed by the war. In January the 
members of the Opposition visited Ottawa in a body to confer with the 
Federal Government and Dominion Conservative leaders on such ques- 
tions as naturalization. Provincial control of lands, the chilled meat in- 
dustry, technical education and other matters. 

The first war session met on October 7th and lasted fifteen days. 
When the war broke out a Liberal Convention was in session at Calgary 
with five hundred delegates. It decided to abandon party action. Dr. 
Michael Clark, M. P., fathered a resolution which was unanimously en- 
dorsed by the Convention, declaring a party truce in the face of the 
crisis that threatened the Empire. At the opening of the Legislature 
this truce was ratified by both parties in a unanimous resolution, pledg- 
ing the entire resources of the Province to the Empire and its Allies, in 
what the resolution stated was a struggle for the "continuity of demo- 
cratic civilization". 

A number of non-contentious Acts were passed this session. The 
extra Judicial Seizures Act provided that every distress, excepting for 
taxes, must be made by a sheriff, or his bailiff, who must have a proper 
warrant under heavy penalties for infraction. The Foreclosure and Sale 
Act materially reduced costs and expenses of litigation in enforcing rights 
under mortgages, agreements for sale, and other encumbrances. The 
costly method of writs and pleadings was replaced by a simple procedure. 
Taxes were increased and new ones imposed on pool-rooms, bowling al- 
leys, travellers for liquor houses, bartenders, circuses, travelling shows 
and clubs. The pessimism induced by the catastrophe of the war put 
the House and the people in a proper Puritan spirit to accomplish such 
reforms without discord. A tax was imposed on uncultivated lands of 
one per cent of their assessed value. It affected over 20,000,000 acres 
of land in the Province, held for the most part by speculators. A tax of 
two-and-one-half cents per acre was levied on timber lands. Considerable 
legislation was passed for the relief of the people in war time. The 
Government did not impose a moratorium, but Premier Sifton announced 
there would be no seizure or sale permitted under any document without 
the Order of a Judge, and he warned certain loan companies if they took 
advantage of war conditions to renew loans for long terms at increased 
rates, means would be found to prevent them from doing any further 
business in the Province — a characteristic Siftonian threat. 

The Direct Legislation Act gave the Prohibitionists an opportunity 
to take the first step to abolish the bar and curtail the liquor trade. On 


October 12th they presented a petition signed by 23,000 electors, and 
submitted a Prohibition Liquor Act. On October 19th, in accordance 
with that request. Premier Sifton without opposition, provided for the 
submission of the Act by a referendum on July 21, 1915. The Prohibi- 
tionists, led by the Alberta Temperance and Moral Reform League, con- 
tested the issue with the Licensed Victuallers' Association throughout 
the summer of 1915, and finally won by a vote of 58,295 for prohibition 
and 37,509 against. A bye-election was held in Wetaskiwin in the fall of 
1914, due to the death of Chas. H. Olin. He was succeeded by H. J. Mont- 
gomery, the Liberal candidate. 

For some time there had been growing in the Province an agitation 
for some supervision of the issue of municipal debentures and the sale 
of shares of the various Joint Stock Companies. In the session of 1915 
legislation was passed creating the Board of Public Utility Commis- 
sioners, with very wide powers over these and other matters, in regulat- 
ing the actions of municipal and public service corporations. 

The party truce of 1914 began to disappear in the session of 1916. 
Mr. Edward Mitchener, supported by eager and able lieutenants, par- 
ticularly Mr. T. M. Tweedie, Mr. A. F. Ewing and Dr. G. D. Stanley, led 
a vigorous opposition against the Government, but without avail. The 
administration of the Liquor Act by the Attorney-General's Department 
was specially singled out for attack this session by Dr. Stanley of High 
River. A Royal Commission was asked for to investigate charges in 
which it was alleged that the agents of the Government had collected 
funds from the licensees of hotels for election purposes ; that the licensees 
of hotels had paid large sums to the agents of the Attorney-General, in 
order to escape prosecutions under the Liquor Act ; and also had obtained 
concessions in connection with liquor licenses. The Government offered 
to have these charges investigated by the Public Accounts Committee, 
and pledged that if sufficient evidence was found it would order a judicial 
enquiry. With respect to the charges of stifling prosecutions. Premier 
Sifton challenged the Opposition to commence criminal proceedings in the 
Courts and all expenses of the prosecution would be paid by the Govern- 
ment. He further illuminated the Assembly with the statement that he 
knew these charges had been in secret circulation a year before and were 
being used by some of the hotelkeepers as a threat to deter the Govern- 
ment from passing a prohibitory law. 

The construction of the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia 
Railway and of the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway were other 
matters that the Opposition wanted investigated by a Royal Commission. 
A resolution to this effect was introduced April 17th by Dr. T. H. Blow, 
of Calgary. This was the first of a yearly phillipic against the railway 
policy of the Government by this indefatigable member, until he left the 
Legislature in 1921. Another resolution asked for the investigation of 
the conduct of four ministers for alleged interference with the regular 


administration of justice in dismissing a certain Justice of the Peace and 
releasing certain prisoners. The ministers were able to refute these 
charges very easily and both resolutions were defeated. Then Mr. R. E. 
Campbell, of Rocky Mountain, proposed a vote of censure against Premier 
Sifton for permitting alleged payment of unfair wages and bad treatment 
by the contractors of the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway respect- 
ing employees on this railroad. In these debates, the bitterest heard in 
the Assembly since the Alberta and Great Waterways affair in 1910, 
the defence of the Government fell mainly on Premier Sifton, who dis- 
played a courage and resourcefulness that won him the solid and enthusi- 
astic support of every Liberal member in the Assembly. 

It is questionable if men of more parliamentary experience would have 
followed the same course as the members of the Opposition did that 
session. But it may be taken as the first wholesome sign that parlia- 
mentary government was developing in the Legislature. Under British 
practice the party system is necessary and vigorous, fearless opposition 
is as indispensable for good government as a strong cabinet backed up by 
a safe majority. 

The Sale of Intoxicating Liquors Act was passed without discussion, 
almost without a comment, except that Premier Sifton said that it would 
be enforced. This Act carried out the terms of the petition of the pro- 
hibitionists, endorsed by the plebiscite of the previous year. It abolished 
the sale of intoxicating liquors as beverages, and provided for the sale of 
such by Government Vendors under the certificate of a medical prac- 
titioner. Equally unanimous were the passing of the Equal Suffrage Act, 
the first in Canada, the only dissentient in the Assembly being Mr. Lucien 
Boudreau, the member for St. Albert, a strong French-Canadian riding, 
and an Act for the Relief of Volunteers and Reservists, which provided 
a moratorium for all who had enlisted for service in the war. The effect 
of the war was apparent in the shortage of teachers, over six hundred 
having enlisted. The fear of alien outrages led the Government to insure 
the Parliament Buildings against such risks, with Lloyd's, for $2,000,000. 

In the session of 1917 the Opposition increased their determination 
to fight the Government and its policies. The debate on the address was 
the longest before or since that time. A series of resolutions condemn- 
ing the Government's administration of railways, telephones, the Civil 
Service and other matters were submitted by the Opposition, and de- 
feated by the Government's supporters. These debates brought out the 
strength of both parties and served as fine political propaganda for the 
elections, which took place on June 17th, shortly after the prorogation 
of the Assembly. 

By this time several members of the Assembly were overseas with the 
Canadian Expeditionary Forces, viz. : Brigadier-General J. S. Stewart, C. 
M. G., D. S. 0., of Lethbridge, Commanding 3rd Canadian Artillery Di- 
vision; Major C. S. Pingle, Redcliffe; Major R. B. Eaton, Hand Hills; 


Captain R. E. Campbell, Rocky Mountain ; Lieutenant F. A. Walker, Vic- 
toria ; Lieutenant G. E. L. Hudson, Wainwright; Lieutenant J. E. Stauffer, 
Didsbury; Pte. Gordon Macdonald, Pembina. 

The Legislature recognized the patriotism and services of these mem- 
bers by passing a Special Act electing them again to the new Legislature 
elected June 17th of that year. 

Provision was also made by a Special Act for the representation of 
the Soldiers and Nursing Sisters of Alberta for electing two members at 
large. The result of the elections was the return of thirty-three Liberals, 
nineteen Conservatives, two representatives of the Non-Partisan League 
(Mrs. L. C. McKinney, Claresholm, and James Weir, Nanton), and Cap- 
tain Robert Pearson and Nursing Sister Roberta McAdams, representing 
the soldiers and nursing sisters overseas. Mrs. McKinney and Miss Mc- 
Adams were the first women ever elected to a Canadian or British As- 
sembly. The Legislature now had fifty-eight members, compared to 
forty-one in 1909, and twenty-five in 1905. 

After the election the stress of the war overshadowed Provincial 
affairs. The absolute necessity of maintaining the Canadian Divisions in 
France up to strength precipitated the Conscription issue and led to the 
formation of the Union Government for Canada. 

Premier Sifton had been from the beginning an ardent advocate of 
a vigorous prosecution of the war and desired to subordinate everything 
to secure a successful termination. The prospect of a bitter party cam- 
paign throughout the Dominion of Canada and the consequences of a 
strictly party enforcement of Conscription, induced Alberta's premier to 
join the Union Government. He was succeeded by Hon. Charles Stewart, 
a member of the Assembly since 1909, and of the Ministry since 1913. 
The vacancy thus created was filled by the appointment of Hon. G. P. 
Smith, member for Camrose since 1909 to the Portfolio of Provincial 

The Stewart Ministry was sworn in on October 16th as follows: 
Premier, President of the Council and Minister of Railways and Tele- 
phones, Hon. Charles Stewart; Minister of Public Works, Hon. A. J. 
McLean; Minister of Education, Hon. J. R. Boyle; Minister of Agricul- 
ture, Hon. Duncan Marshall; Attorney-General, Hon. C. W. Cross; Min- 
ister of Municipal Affairs, Hon. Wilfred Gariepy; Provincial Treasurer, 
Hon. C. R. Mitchell; Provincial Secretary, Hon. G. P. Smith. 

Two Alberta vacancies in the Senate were filled before the end of the 
year by the acceptance of these honors by Mr. Edward Mitchener, leader 
of the Opposition in the Assembly, and by Mr. W. J. Harmer, Deputy 
Minister of Railways and Telephones for Alberta. A notable event of 
the year was the establishment and organization of the Alberta Provincial 
Police to take the place of the Royal North West Mounted Police. 

There was little political controversy in Provincial affairs in 1918. 
Alberta, in common with the rest of the Dominion, was making supreme 


effort to win the war. The Province gave liberally to the Patriotic and 
Red Cross Funds, and assisted in the reestablishment of Returned Sol- 
diers. Mr. George Hoadley was elected Leader of the Opposition by a 
caucus of the Conservative members a few days after the opening of the 
Legislature. Many of the members from overseas were in attendance this 
session, but the House deeply grieved the death in action of Lieutenant J. 
E. Stauffer. An important Act of the session was the Hospitals Act, which 
provided for the formation of Hospital Districts and the establishment 
of hospitals therein, supported by local taxation. The Supreme Court of 
Alberta rendered an important judgment relating to the law of divorce 
in Alberta. The judgment established the competency of Alberta Su- 
preme Court to grant divorces on the ground that the Matrimonial Causes 
Act, passed by the British Parliament in 1857, was in force in Alberta 
by virtue of the North West Territories Act, which enacted that the 
laws of England as they existed prior to July 15th, 1870, should be in 
force in the North West Territories until the same were repealed or altered 
by proper authority. 

Cabinet changes occurred on the dismissal of Attorney-General Cross 
on August 22nd, by Premier Stewart, and the elevation of Hon. A. G. 
Mackay to a seat in the Cabinet. Hon. J. R. Boyle was appointed At- 
torney-General, Hon. A. G. Mackay became Minister of Municipal Affairs 
and Public Health. Hon. G. P. Smith was transferred to the Department 
of Education, and Hon. Wilfred Gariepy accepted the office of Provincial 
Secretary. On September 25th Mr. Gariepy resigned and Hon. Jean Cote, 
member for Grouard, was appointed in his place. A bye-election in Red 
Deer constituency to fill the vacancy caused by the elevation of Mr. Ed- 
ward Michener to the Senate resulted in the return of Mr. J. J. Gaetz, a 
Liberal, against Mr. F. W. Galbraith, independent Liberal, but described 
by his opponent as a Unionist. 

The year 1919, possibly as a result of relief from the strain of the 
war, witnessed important political developments. The farmers made up 
their minds to fight the old political parties and formed the United 
Farmers of Alberta Political Association as the announcement of its 
formation ran "to supervise political organization in Federal and Prov- 
incial constituencies." The Liberal party held a Convention in Calgary, 
declaring a stand against continuance of a Coalition Government after 
the conclusion of the war, and adopted a clear-cut party platform. At 
the opening of the session of the Legislature, Mr. James Ramsey, Junior 
member for Edmonton, was elected leader of the Opposition by the Con- 
servative members of the Assembly. The strength of the Farmer Move- 
ment revealed itself in the constituency of Cochrane held November 3rd, 
when Mr. Alex. Moore, the Farmer candidate, easily won the election 
against the best efforts of the Liberal organization — a premonition of the 
startling success of the Farmer Party in the next general elections. 

In the session of 1920 C. S. Pingle, member for Redcliff, was elected 


Speaker of the Assembly, and Mr. A, F. Ewing, senior member for Ed- 
monton, leader of the Opposition. 

The financial difficulties of the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Co- 
lumbia Railway and the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway gave 
serious concern to the Government. During the session $1,000,000 had 
been voted by the Assembly for the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British 
Columbia Railway and $100,000 for the Alberta and Great Waterways 
Railway. Finally the Government was forced to assume control of both 
railways, after the refusal of the Federal Government to take them over 
and incorporate them in the National System. Arrangements were com- 
pleted with the Canadian Pacific Railway Company in July to operate 
the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway under lease for 
five years and a company was organized for this purpose, Mr. D. C. Cole- 
man, of the Canadian Pacific Railway, President, and Mr. J. A. Mac- 
gregor, an able Canadian Pacific Railway Superintendent, as General 
Manager. It was decided by the Government to operate the Alberta and 
Great Waterways Railway as a Government railway. 

The complex and unsatisfactory financial state of many of the munici- 
palities in the Province compelled the Government in the session of 1920 
to provide for the appointment of several special bodies to adjust mat- 
ters of municipal finance, and assessment. The most important of these 
was the Municipal Finances Commission, composed of Honourable Jus- 
tices Harvey, Beck and Hyndman of the Supreme Court of Alberta, and 
Mr. H. M. E. Evans, of Edmonton. An Assessment Equalization Board, 
composed of J. H. Lamb, Deputy Minister of Municipalities, W. J. Jack- 
man, Secretary of Rural Municipalities, investigated assessment policies 
of the municipalities and reduced them to a basis of reasonable uniformity. 

The Government renewed its demand upon the Federal Government 
for the transfer of the Crown lands, minerals and royalties within the 
Province to the Province on a different basis to that of previous demands. 
By the terms of the demand of 1920 the Government of Alberta was 
willing to pay back to the Dominion of Canada the monies received in 
lieu of lands if a proper accounting were made of the various revenues 
taken from the Crown lands of the Province since 1905 by the Dominion 
of Canada, and if the same were paid over to the Province of Alberta. 

Hon. A. G. Mackay died on April 24th, deeply lamented by the As- 
sembly and country. Hon. C. R. Mitchell took charge of the Department 
of Municipal Affairs and of Public Health, which he administered until 
the defeat of the Government the following year. 

The political activities of the United Farmers continued with growing 
vigor and numbers. The membership increased from 18,135 in 1918 to 
33,000 in 1921, and although the United Farmers of Alberta Pohtical 
Association was disbanded at the Annual Convention in 1920 it did not 
halt or disorganize the plans of the United Farmers to obtain political 
control of the Province. The United Farm Women's Association, under 


Mrs. Marion L. Sears, who had succeeded Mrs. Walter Parlby in the 
Presidency, was potent in rallying the women electors to the support of 
the Farmers' cause. The precipitous fall of the price of farm products, 
the Young-Fordney tariff, which excluded Canadian cattle from the United 
States market, caused just discontent among all classes of farmers. A 
conviction voiced by Mr. H. W. Woods, President of the United Farmers 
of Alberta in the words: "Agriculture has not been fostered to a degree 
commensurate with its rational importance" steadily grew stronger. At 
the Annual Convention of 1921 a Provincial political platform was adopted 
and it was resolved to contest every rural constituency in the next elec- 
tions with Farmer candidates. The elections followed, July 17th. The 
distinctive features of the election were the absence of criticism of the 
Government's policy by the Farmer candidates and the precision and 
power of the Farmer organization. The result was thirty-nine Farmers, 
fourteen Liberals, four Labor, three Independents, one Conservative. 

On the 26th of July, a Convention of the Farmer members-elect was 
held in Calgary to choose a leader. The choice fell upon Mr. Herbert 
Greenfield. Mr. Greenfield was not a candidate. He was a prominent 
member of the Executive of the United Farmers of Alberta. The Stew- 
art Ministry held office until the Greenfield Ministry was formed. On 
August 13th Premier Greenfield announced his Cabinet as follows: Presi- 
dent of the Council, Provincial Treasurer, and Provincial Secretary, Hon. 
Herbert Greenfield; Attorney-General, Hon. J. E. Brownlee; Minister of 
Agriculture, Hon. George Hoadley; Minister of Municipal Affairs and of 
Public Health, Hon. R. G. Reid; Minister of Education, Hon. Perrin 
Baker; Minister of Railways and Telephones, Hon. Vernon W. Smith; 
Minister of Public Works, Hon. Alex. Ross (Labor) ; Minister without 
Portfolio, Hon. Mrs. Walter Parlby. 


During the session of 1905 Sir Wilfred Laurier introduced the Alberta 
and Saskatchewan Acts into the House of Commons. The granting of 
autonomy to the North West Territories involved four questions, viz. : 

(1) How many provinces could be formed out of the Territories? 

(2) The ownership of the public lands. 

(3) The financial terms. 

(4) The school system. 

These questions were decided as follows : 

(1) Two provinces were formed and the boundaries extended to the 
60th line of north latitude, considerably beyond the northern boundaries 
of the original districts of Athabasca and Saskatchewan. 

(2) All Crown lands, mines and minerals and royalties incident 
thereto, and the interest of the Crown in the waters within the provinces 
were continued in the Crown and are administered by the Government of 
Canada for the purposes of Canada. 

(3) In determining the financial terms Section 118 of the B. N. A. 
Act was followed as closely as the circumstances would permit. The 
annual subsidy was made up as follows : 

(a) Government and Legislature $50,000 

(b) On an estimated population of 250,000 for Alberta 

at 80 cents per head 200,000 

A census of the province was to be taken every five years and the 
allowance of 80 cents per head paid on the increased population until it 
should reach 800,000 souls. 

(c) In as much as the province had no debt the annual sum of 
$405,375 was granted. 

To understand this we must know the terms in this respect upon which 
the four original provinces entered Confederation. The Dominion as- 
sumed the debt of the provinces viz., $62,500,000 for Upper and Lower 
Canada, $7,000,000 for New Brunswick, $8,000,000 for Nova Scotia. 
These debts were not paid. But the Dominion agreed to pay the interest to 
the provinces which therefore represented so much capital. When the 
new provinces Alberta and Saskatchewan and Manitoba entered Confeder- 
ation without any debt, they were entitled to the same per capita debt 
allowance as the older provinces as adjusted from time to time until 1905. 



On that basis Alberta and Saskatchewan were credited with the sum of 
$8,107,500 upon which the annual interest is computed at 5%. 

(d) In as much as the public lands were reserved to Canada the 
province was paid the following sum in lieu of lands: 

For a population of 250,000 the sum of $375,000 

When the people increased to 400,000 the sum of 562,500 

When the people increased to 800,000 the sum of 750,000 

When the people increased to 1,200,000 and thereafter the 

sum of 1,125,000 

(e) An additional allowance of $93,750 was given for five years for 
public buildings. 

In 1906 a conference of the premiers of the various provinces of Canada 
was held in Ottawa to discuss the financial relations of the Dominion to 
the various provinces of Canada. The result was that an address from 
the Parliament of Canada was presented to the Imperial Parliament pray- 
ing for amendments to the B. N. A. Act to give efi'ect to the new financial 
terms decided upon at the premiers' conference. Those amendments be- 
came law July 1st, 1907. The annual subsidy to Alberta was increased and 
remains in force at the present time. It is made up as follows: 

(1) A fixed grant for Government and Legislature. 

(a) For population up to 400,000 persons $180,000 

(b) For population up to 800,000 persons 190,000 

(c) For population up to 1,500,000 persons 220,000 

(d) For population up to 1,500,000 persons 240,000 

(2) Per capita subsidy, 80 cents per head shall be paid until the 
population reaches 2,500,000 and at the rate of 60 cents per head of so 
much of the population as exceeds that number. 

(3) The subsidies in respect to lands and public debt were left as 
set forth in the Alberta Act. 

(4) The School System: 

The powers of the province respecting education are contained in 
section 17 of the Alberta Act, viz., 

Section 93 of the British North America Act 1867 shall apply to the 
said province with the substitution for paragraph one of the said section 
93 of the following paragraph : 

"Nothing in any such law shall prejudicially afi'ect any right or privi- 
lege with respect to separate schools which any class of persons have at the 
date of the passing of this Act, under the terms of the chapters 29 and 30 
of the Ordinances of the North West Territories, passed in the year 1901, 
or with respect to religious instruction in any public or separate school as 
provided for in the said Ordinances." 

The Constitution: 

The Constitution of the Province of Alberta exists in different formis, 

Jackson Block and Bank of Comme'rce 

Dominion Bank 


1 '^ ^^^ ' '^ 


Imperial Bank of Canada 


(1) The rigid form as expressed in the B. N. A. Acts and the Alberta 
Act of 1905, commonly known as the Autonomy Act. This part of the 
Constitution is imposed on this province by the higher authority of the 
Imperial Parliament of Great Britain and of the Parliament of Canada. 
It can not be amended by the Legislature of the Province and any change 
necessary must be made by the higher parliaments. 

(2) The Constitution exists also in definite and flexible form. This 
part is created by the people of the province itself and is expressed in the 
various Acts of the legislature passed since 1905 ; in the laws of the North 
West Territories continued in force at the time of the creation of the 
province and not since repealed; and in the laws of England in force 
July 15th, 1870 except in so far as such laws have been altered or repealed 
by the Ordinances of the North West Territories or by the Acts of the 
said province. It lies within the power of the legislature to change such 
laws as necessity and the growth of the county require provided they apply 
to the class of subjects assigned to the province by S. 92. B. N. A. Act. 

(3) The Constitution exists further in unwritten forms as expressed 
in the usages and incidents of British Parliamentary practice, as are 
found for example in the commissions issued to the lieutenant-governor 
on assuming oflflce and the various conventions that govern his relations 
with his responsible executive on the one hand and the Governor General 
of Canada from whom he received his appointment on the other. 

By virtue of the power vested in the Parliament of Canada by the B. 
N. A. Act of 1871, the Federal Parliament passed the Alberta Act creating 
the new province of the same name. By the terms of this Act the B. N. 
A. Acts 1867-1886 are made to apply to Alberta in the same way and the 
like extent as they apply to the older provinces of Canada as if Alberta 
had been originally included in Confederation, except in so far as they 
varied by the Autonomy Act and such provisions as are in terms made or 
by reasonable intendment apply to one or more provinces and not to the 
whole of the provinces of the Dominion. These variations affect two 
classes of subjects mentioned previously, viz., education and public lands. 

Legislative Power: 

Except, therefore, in the instances referred to in the preceding para- 
graphs the Constitution of Alberta is identical to those of the older prov- 
inces. Like these provinces it has surrendered to the federal parliament 
the exclusive right to make laws for the peace, order and good government 
of Canada in relation to all matters not coming within the classes of sub- 
jects assigned by Section 92 of the B. N. A. Act exclusively to the Legisla- 
ture of the province, that is to say "All matters of a merely local nature or 
private nature in the province." Within the limits of these delegated 
powers however, the legislature has absolute authority. "Where there 


is jurisdiction the will of the legislature is omnipotent, according to 
British theory, and knows no superior law." 

Concurrent powers of legislation are conferred upon the Dominion 
Parliament and provincial legislature in relation to agriculture and im- 
migration, but no provincial Act on these subjects may be repugnant to 
any Dominion law on the same subject. 

Legislative authority is vested in the Lieutenant-Governor and the 
legislative assembly. All acts are enacted in the name of "His Majesty 
by and with the advice and consent of the legislative assembly." In rela- 
tion to assent to bills, disallowance of acts, and signification of pleasure of 
bills reserved, the Lieutenant-Governor represents the Crown with respect 
to the province in the same manner in which the Governor General rep- 
resents the Dominion. No bill passed by the Legislature becomes law 
until it has received the assent of the Lieutenant-Governor. At the con- 
clusion of a session of the legislature the Lieutenant-Governor goes in state 
to the legislature. The clerk of the legislature reads the list of bills passed, 
to which His Honour, seated on the Speaker's Chair, assents, whereupon 
the clerk announces to the members assembled in their places, "In His 
Majesty's name His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor doth assent to these 
bills." It often happens, however, that in case of public necessity the 
Lieutenant Governor gives his assent to a bill as soon as it is passed by 
the Assembly. 

At the conclusion of each session of the legislature the Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor transmits two copies of every Act passed during that session to the 
Secretary of State for Canada. One of these is in turn transmitted to the 
Colonial Office. Thus it will be seen that the federal government exercises 
a residuary control over all provincial legislation. 

Legislation passed by the Assembly is of two kinds, viz.: public and 
private legislation. Private bills are distinguished from public bills in that 
they relate directly to the affairs of private individuals or of corporate 
bodies, and not to matters of public policy. They must originate by peti- 
tion and be subject to special rules such as payment of fees and due adver- 
tisement in the official gazette and newspapers of the province. Public 
bills represent the policy of the Executive, and unless the Executive is 
able to command a majority of the members of the legislature in support 
thereof, they forfeit the confidence of the Lieutenant-Governor and must 
resign or ask for an appeal to the electors. The initiation of public legisla- 
tion is one of the responsible duties of the Executive or Cabinet but it is 
not lawful for the Executive or the legislature to adopt, or pass any vote, 
resolution or address for the appropriation of the public revenue to any 
purpose unless it has been recommended by a message from the Lieutenant- 

By Sec. 91. B. N. A. Act the legislature is empowered to alter its con- 
stitution except as it affects the office of the Lieutenant-Governor. The 
legislature of the province began with 25 members. This number was in- 


creased after the quinquennial census of 1906 to 41, and now is 58 including 
2 members representing the overseas men and women. Representation is 
increased on the basis of population as shown by the Dominion Census. 
Those entitled to vote at provincial elections are British subjects by birth 
or naturalization, and who have resided at least twelve months in the 
electoral division in which they desire to vote. 

Executive Power: 

The executive power is vested in the Lieutenant-Governor but by the 
instructions of his commission he is guided by the constitutional principles 
and precedents which obtain in every British state where parliamentary 
government is established. Upon him lies the duty of forming a respons- 
ible executive council to administer the public business. At the same time 
he is enjoined to maintain a positon of dignified impartiality and to guard 
the interests of the Dominion as well as those of the province. He holds 
office during the pleasure of the Governor General but is not removable 
within five years from the time of his appointment except for cause. In 
this way it will be seen that the federal government has a residuary execu- 
tive or administrative control over the provinces in that it has power to 
change the executive head of the province. 

Not being directly nominated by the Sovereign the Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor is not entrusted with the personal prerogatives of mercy and honor 
attaching to those governors by commission from the King, but at the 
opening and closing of the provincial legislature, the celebration of His 
Majesty's birthday, or holding a levee, he is regarded as acting directly 
on behalf of His Majesty. In short he represents the monarchial element 
so characteristic of our British system. 

The executive council is chosen from the members of the legislature and 
is entrusted with the conduct of the public business as long as it holds 
the confidence of that body. For the better expedition of the public busi- 
ness the affairs of government are organized into departments. One of 
the first Acts of the first legislative Assembly of Alberta was to pass the 
Public Service Act creating the several departments as follows: 

(1) Office of the Executive Council. 

(2) Department of the Attorney-General. 

(3) Department of Provincial Secretary. 

(4) Department of Treasury. 

(5) Department of Public Works. 

(6) Department of Agriculture. 

(7) Department of Education. 

(8) Offices of Legislative Assembly. 

At first the ministers administered more than one department but the 
rapid development that has taken place in recent years has increased the 


work of the several departments to such an extent that each is admin- 
istered at the present time by one member of the Executive. Since the 
organization of the province in 1905 new departments have been created 
as follows : 

Department of Railways and Telephones, (1912) 

Department of Municipal Affairs, (1912) 

Department of Public Health, (1919) 

Treasury Department: 

(1) The treasury department is under the direction of a member of 
the Executive Council, the Provincial Treasurer. He has the management 
and control of the revenue and expenditure of the province. All revenues, 
excepting certain funds, form the consolidated revenue fund, the expendi- 
ture of which is subject to audit, legislative review and vote. All accounts 
must pass the Provincial Auditor, an officer removable only on address to 
the Assembly. 

(2) The provincial revenue is derived from three sources, viz., 

(1) Dominion subsidies. 

(2) School lands. 

(3) Provincial taxes. 

(3) The fiscal year closes on December 31st. As soon as practicable 
after the close of each fiscal year a detailed and complete statement of the 
public accounts for that period must be prepared by the Provincial Treas- 
urer showing the state of the general revenue fund, the trust and special 
funds and all matters requisite to explain the financial transactions of the 

Estimates of the expenditure are generally for the period of one fiscal 
year. No petition for any sum relating to the public service, not any 
motion for a grant or charge whether payable out of the consolidated 
revenue fund or other moneys provided by legislature is ever received 
cr proceeded with unless recommended from the Lieutenant-Governor, or 
theoretically the Crown. 

Department of Education: 

This department controls public schools, normal training schools and 
universities within the province. With regard to education the province 
controls absolutely the program of studies followed in the public schools, 
the normal school, and through the Board of Governors, the curriculum 
and administration of the Provincial University. Through inspectors the 
department supervises the course of studies, the methods of the teachers 
who are employed by the local school boards and determines the amount 
of provincial grant that is due to each school. 


Department of Public Works: 

As the name implies the minister of this department controls the con- 
struction and maintenance of all public works in the province, issues 
surveys, maps and plans, road allowances, ferries and all public property. 
He has charge of the provincial institutions such as Asylums and gaols. 

Department of the Attorney-General: 

This department is presided over by a member of the Executive 
Council, the attorney-general. He is the general agent of the Crown. To 
him belongs the supervision of the administration of justice within the 
province, and the administration of public affairs according to law. 

He is charged with the conduct of the following matters among numer- 
ous others : 

(a) The law governing the sale of intoxicating liquors. 

(b) Titles to real property in the province. 

(c) Appointment of sheriffs, registrars, judicial officers, justices of 
the peace, coroners, notaries public and commissioners for taking affi- 

(d) Hearing applications for the granting of flats regarding petitions 
of right, criminal informations, indictments, actions to set aside crown 
patents, actions to recover fines and penalties. 

(e) The appointment of counsel for the conduct of criminal business. 

(f ) The supervision of the officers of the courts of law in the province. 

(g) The examination of papers in connection with the admission and 
discharge of lunatics, etc. 

Provincial Secretary's Department: 

The Provincial Secretary is a member of the Executive Council. He is 
the keeper of the seal of the province, issues all letters patent, commissions 
and other documents under the seal of the province and countersigns the 
same. He is the keeper of all the registers and archives of the province. 

Department of Agrictdtiire: 

This department is presided over by the Minister of Agriculture, a 
member of the Executive. He has charge of agriculture statistics. This 
department collects statistics relating to agriculture and manufacturing, 
and disseminates the same to promote the progress of the province and 
sees to the observance and execution of the law relating to statistics and 
agriculture. The Minister of Agriculture has charge of the Demonstra- 
tion farms and schools of agriculture. 

Reports of the work done in the various departments and branches 


thereof are annually prepared and laid upon the table of the legislative 
assembly and printed for distribution. 

Department of Municipal Affairs: 

The Minister of Municipal Affairs is a member of the Executive 
Council and is responsible to the legislature for the administration of 
the municipal institutions of the province. He has power to make regu- 
lations governing the methods of bookkeeping, accounting and auditing in 
the municipalities of the province, and to make and enforce such regula- 
tions as shall conduce to a systematic and uniform conduct of the affairs 
thereof. For this purpose inspectors regularly visit the officials of the 
municipalities and report to the Department, 

The Minister of Municipal Affairs is charged with the duties under 
the Local Improvement Act, the Village Act and the Education Tax Act. 
Under the Education Tax Act all lands in every municipality except lands 
included in school districts are taxed one and a quarter cents for the bene- 
fit of education. The taxes are paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund 
of the province. 

Department of Railways and Telephones: 

The Minister of Railways and Telephones is a member of the Execu- 
tive Council. He is entrusted with all the powers and charged with all the 
duties created by the Railway Act of Alberta 1907 and the Act respecting 
the government of telephone and telegraph systems. 

Department of Public Health: 

The Minister of Public Health is a member of the Executive Council 
and has the administration and control of the department and all the acts 
relating to public nurses, hospitals, diseases and vital statistics. It is his 
duty to insitute inquiries, collect facts and statistics relating to the above 
matters and issue regulations for their due execution and observance. 

The Legislative Assembly: 

The chief officers of the legislative assembly are the Speaker, and the 
clerk of the House. The Speaker presides over "the deliberations of the 
House and enforces the observance of all rules for preserving order in its 
proceedings." He puts every question and declares the determination of 
the House. As "Mouth of the house" he communicates its resolutions to 
others, conveys its thanks, expresses its censure, its reprimands or ad- 
monitions. He is in fact the representative of the House itself in all its 
powers, proceedings and dignity. 


The clerk of the Assembly makes true entries, remembrances and 
journals of things done and passed in the House. He signs the addresses, 
votes of thanks and orders of the house. He endorses the bills sent to the 
Lieutenant-Governor. He has the custody of all the records or other 
documents of the House and is responsible for the conduct of the business 
of the House in the official department under his control. He assists the 
Speaker and advises members in regard to questions of order and the 
proceedings of the House. 

During the recess he publishes in each issue of the Alberta Gazette 
rules respecting notices of intended applications of private bills and fixes 
the date for receiving private bills after the proclamation convening the 
Assembly has been published. 

The law clerk prepares a report upon all private bills after their 
second reading and before the same are submitted to the committee 
charged with the consideration thereof. In the subsequent stage of such 
bills he is responsible for such bills should they be amended. 

Local Government: 

Among the powers exclusively assigned to the legislatures of the 
provinces is the right of each province to create and establish municipal 
institutions within the respective provinces. This right Alberta and 
Saskatchewan enjoy in common with the rest. The various local bodies 
created and established in Alberta are as follows: Cities, towns, rural 
municipalities, villages and local improvement districts. Cities are incor- 
porated by special charters granted by the legislature. Their powers are 
strictly limited by the express terms of their respective charters and 
depend largely upon the demands of the citizens of each place for the 
municipal functions they desire to exercise. Of course the legislature can 
not grant these municipal corporations power inconsistent with the con- 
stitution nor delegate any power it does not itself possess. 

All towns in Alberta are incorporated and organized under the Towns' 
Act 1912. Both towns and cities are empowered to pass by-laws within 
the powers delegated, and generally to enact such legislation as will pro- 
mote the welfare of their communal life. Town councils consist of a 
mayor and six councillors elected by a general vote of the electors includ- 
ing women if they are property owners. Money by-laws in towns and 
cities are referred to the property owners or burgesses before the coun- 
cils have power to borrow money, issue bonds or debentures. 

Villages may be erected in communities where there are at least 25 
dwellings within an area of 640 acres. Rates are limited to ten mills on 
the dollars of the assessed value of property. The village council consists 
of three members elected by the owners or occupiers of rateable land 
within the village. 

The borrowing powers of all municipal bodies are limited to a fraction 


of the assessment or the total taxes by the terms of the Act or special 

Rural Municipalities : 

Rural municipalities were established in Alberta in 1912. Each 
municipality comprises nine townships or an area 18 miles square and 
must have a population of not less than one person per square mile. At 
the present time it is optional with the people of these districts to form 
themselves into a municipality under the Act. The chairman of the rural 
council is called a reeve. The council has power to make by-laws relating 
to matters of merely local concern such as roads, bridges, public health, 
wolf bounties, hospitals, cemeteries, prairie fires, noxious weeds, and to 
raise money on the credit of the municipality as specified by the Act. 
Taxes are levied upon all rateable lands in the municipality and the rate 
must be uniform. The maximum is placed at one per cent of the assess- 
ment of the preceding year. 

Local Districts: 

In the newer parts of the province municipal organization is expressed 
in local improvement districts. These are constituted by Order in Council 
upon petition and vary in size according to circumstances usually from 
108 square miles to 216 square miles. The council consists of from three 
to six members and has power to impose taxes upon all rateable lands in 
the district but the rate is fixed within a minimum of one-and-a-quarter 
cents and a maximum of five cents per acre. 

The Judiciary and Administration of Justice: 

The judicial power of the province is vested in a number of courts as 
follows : 

(a) A court of superior civil and criminal jurisdiction, viz., The 
Supreme Court of Alberta. 

(b) Minor courts of civil and criminal jurisdiction, viz., The District 
Court of each judicial district. 

(c) Police magistrate courts in towns and cities and the courts of the 
justices of the peace. 

The supreme court consists of two divisions, Appellate and Trial, each 
presided over by a chief justice and eight puisne judges appointed by the 
Dominion Government. They cannot be removed from office except on 
an address from both houses of parliament. 

The province is divided into a number of judicial districts viz., Acadia, 
Athabasca, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Wetaskiwin, Calgary, Macleod, Medi- 
cine Hat, Red Deer, Stettler. Each district has a court presided over by 

I «.. 

Merchants Bank of Canada 

Canadian Bank of Commerce 

Molsons Bank 

Bank of Toronto Standard Bank of Canada 



a judge, a clerk, and where necessary an additional judge and clerks. 
Regular sittings of the district court are fixed by the Lieutenant-Governor 
in Council, but the judge may hold additional sittings without a jury. 

District courts have full jurisdiction in all matters which may be made 
the subject of a claim for relief, or enforce a right, legal or equitable 
where such claim, debt or damage does not exceed $600. 

District courts have power to grant probate of wills, letters of admin- 
tration, and pass accounts of executors and administrators, to make orders 
for the division of the disposition of the property of the testator or intes- 
tate in relation to the estate and effects of persons dying within the 
limits of the court. 

With respect to claims under $100 in the District Court there is a small 
debt procedure providing for the summary recovery of small debts through 
the clerk of the court. 

The district court is also a court of record for the trial without a jury 
of any person charged with certain criminal offences, provided the person 
so charged consents. 

In order to facilitate speedy trial of actions at law numerous sittings 
of the District Court are held in each judicial district. At the present time 
court is held at least four times a year. At the beginning of each year the 
Lieutenant-Governor in Council fixes the dates and places for the ensu- 
ing year. 

The police magistrates and justices of the peace are appointed by the 
lieutenant-governor in council. The proceedings before these officers are 
governed by the Criminal Code of Canada. They conduct preliminary 
trials for criminal offenses and are compelled to make complete returns 
of all convictions annually to the attorney-general. 

With the exception of a small force of police maintained by the muni- 
cipalities of the cities and larger towns, the task of maintaining order and 
the King's peace falls upon the Alberta Provincial Police and the Royal 
Canadian Police, the latter being a force in which the officers are magis- 
trates and the rank and file constables. Detachments of these forces are 
stationed at various points in the province and regular patrols extendins- 
to the remotest corners of the province are enforced. 


Appeals subject to certain rules of court from the decisions of the 
District or Supreme Courts are heard by the Appellate Division of the Su- 
preme Court of Alberta. This court has within its jurisdiction all the 
powers which are inherent in any divisional court of the Supreme Court 
of Appeal of England. 

In 1920 an Appellate division of the Supreme Court of Alberta was 
formed as well as a Trial division. Previous to that time appeals were 


heard by the Court en Banc, that is, all the judges of the Supreme Court, 
except the Trial Judge of the action, sat in appeal. 

Appeals from the decisions of the Appellate division may be taken 
to either the Supreme Court of Canada, or directly to the Privy Council 
of the British Empire, or to both in the order named. 


The first Territorial Judiciary was established in pursuance of Chapter 
35 of the Statutes of Canada, 1873, respecting the administration of justice 
and establishment of a police force for the North West Territories. 

Provision was made for the appointment of stipendiary magistrates 
holding office during pleasure with a limited jurisdiction defined by the 
Act. Increased jurisdiction to deal with offences for which the maximum 
punishment did not exceed seven years' imprisonment was vested in the 
judges of the court of Queen's Bench of the Province of Manitoba, or two 
stipendiary magistrates sitting as a court. The said causes were triable 
in the territories in a summary way without the intervention of a jury. 
Power was given to the justices of the peace and stipendiary magistrates 
to commit for trial by court of Queen's Bench in Manitoba according to 
the laws of procedure in force in that province any person charged with 
the commission of an ofi'ence in the Territories punishable by death or 
imprisonment in the penitentiary. 

By this act the North West Mounted Police force constituted any gaols 
and lock-ups provided for the confinement of prisoners in the custody 
of the Mounted Police. 

By the N. W. T. Act of 1875 provision was made for the more com- 
plete administration of justice in the Territories, reserving, however, to a 
more limited extent, what was formerly the jurisdiction of the Court of 
Queen's Bench of Manitoba. This latter court was given an appellate 
jurisdiction in Territorial appeals and for some years that was constituted 
to be the court of Appeal for the Territories. 

By Cap. 7 of the Statutes of Canada for 1877 the foregoing Act was 
amended in important particulars. The jurisdiction exercisable by the 
Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba in Territorial cases was withdrawn 
and a stipendiary magistrate and a justice of the peace with the interven- 
tion of a jury vested with power to try charges where the maximum pun- 
ishment exceeded seven years' imprisonment. In cases where punishment 
was death two justices of the peace were associated with the stipendiary 

By Cap. 25 of the Statutes of Canada, 1880, the N. W. T. Act was again 
amended and consolidated. The change respecting the administration of 
justice provided that stipendiary magistrates were to associate with them 
one justice of the peace, instead of two, to try capital cases. (E. g. Riel's 


Amendments by Cap. 23 of the Statutes of 1884 provided for the first 
time for appeals from the conviction of justices of the peace to a stipen- 
diary magistrate. 

Chapter 25 of the Statutes of Canada, 1886, introduced important and 
progressive changes. The Territorial court presided over by stipendiary 
magistrates v^as superseded by the Supreme Court of the North West Ter- 
ritories. Upon this body v^ere conferred all such powers and authority 
as by the law^ of England v^ere incident to a superior court on July 15th 
1870. The Act provided for five judges and the division of the Territory 
into judicial districts. The appellate jurisdiction of the court of Queen's 
Bench in Manitoba was superseded by the Court En Banc in the Territories 
sitting as a court of appeal. Three judges formed a quorum. 

The system as set forth in the foregoing statements continues with- 
out essential change to the present time. When the province was organ- 
ized in 1905 it became necessary to create a Supreme Court which was 
done by an Act of the Legislature of 1907. In the same year the district 
court Act was passed. 

The system of procedure is contained in the Civil Justice Ordinance 
which is moulded after the English judicature Act and that of Ontario. 
Where procedure or practice is not provided for in this ordinance the Eng- 
lish practice applies. 

The procedure in criminal cases subject to an Act of the Federal Par- 
liament conforms as nearly as possible to that existing in like cases in 
England on the 15th of July, 1870, but no grand jury is summoned and the 
petit jury consists of only six jurors, men or women. 

The trial of offenses is commenced by a formal charge in writing, setting 
forth as in an indictment the offense charged. A jury of six may be had 
in certain civil cases. Only in serious criminal charges is the accused 
entitled to a jury. A list of offenses where a jury is precluded is enumer- 
ated in the N. W. T. Act. There is no grand jury. 



The first local divisions or townships were made by the federal author- 
ity under the Dominion Lands Act of 1872. Though unofficial, local organ- 
ization had been already in existence, following out English custom. Thus 
the Saskatchewan District Board of Health to deal with the epidemic of 
smallpox that had broken out at that time. These townships were not 
for purposes of government but for survey and settlement. Sites for 
towns and villages were provided for by the Federal Government. The 
first territorial authority, the North West Council, dealt with all matters 
municipal and otherwise coming within its scope until municipal ordi- 
nances were passed and municipal organization established. 

In 1883 the Governor in Council conferred upon the Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor and the North West Council the power to enact ordinances re- 
specting municipal institutions, subject of course, to any legislation of the 
Parliament of Canada. In pursuance of this authority the N. W. Council 
passed the first comprehensive municipal law of the Territories. The 
Minister of Justice objected to certain taxing powers of the enactment, 
viz., a clause that enabled a municipality to tax a person occupying Crown 
property other than in an official capacity. A new Act embodying the 
amendments suggested by the Privy Council of Canada was passed in 
1884 and the one of 1883 repealed. The ordinance provided for the in- 
corporation of towns, cities and other municipalities on a petition of two- 
thirds of the residents (British subjects over twenty-one years of age, 
freeholders or householders within the municipality for three months) of 
the proposed municipality. The area of a rural municipality could not 
be less than 200 square miles, of a town not less than 320 acres and not 
more than 2,560 acres. When the population of any town exceeded 2,000 
it could be erected into a city. The rural municipality was given power 
to pass by-laws for the local government of the district, such as raising 
local revenue, roads, bridges, streets, lighting, abatement of nuisances, 
drainage, public health and any other matter for the order and good gov- 
ernment of the municipality. Notice should be taken that the municipali- 
ties were given power to build, own, operate grist mills, elevators and 
manufacturing establishments. Additional powers were given to towns in 
order to promote the welfare and good government of these communities. 

The ordinance of 1884 was revised and consolidated in 1888, again in 



1894 and again in 1897. The revised ordinance of 1897 omitted all ref- 
erence to cities, leaving them to adopt special legislation suitable to their 
own circumstances. This principle of municipal organization persists to 
the present day, although the question of passing a City Charter Act 
applicable to all cities has engaged the attention of the Alberta Legislature 
at different times. All the cities of the province are operated under special 

The municipalities existing at the time were as follows: Moosomin, 
Broadview, Wolseley, Indian Head, South Qu'Appelle, Wascana, Moose 
Jaw, Qu'Appelle, Town of Moose Jaw, Town of Regina, Belle Plain, 
Pheasant Plains. 

The municipal ordinance from this date onward was a subject of 
frequent legislation, being almost annually repealed and reenacted with 
amendments to suit the needs of growing communities. By the Ordinance 
of 1894 rural municipalities of not more than 400 square miles were 
entitled to elect four councillors and those of more than this area, a reeve 
and six councillors. The area of towns was limited to 640 acres, but should 
the population exceed 2,000 then 160 acres might be added to the area for 
every 1,000 of population over 2,000. If after a census was taken in any 
town it was found that the population exceeded 5,000 the council might 
petition the legislature to be erected into a city provided the petition was 
signed by two-thirds of the resident householders of the town. Increased 
powers respecting the conduct of elections was granted by this Act. 

Assessment and Taxes: 

In these ordinances taxes were levied equally upon the whole rateable 
property, real, personal and income. In 1884 and 1894 the exemption on 
personal property was $300.00 and in 1897 this exemption was extended 
to apply to incomes under $600.00. The real estate and personal property 
of railway companies liable to assessment was considered as property of 
the ratepayers. The rate by the law of 1894 was limited to 2| cents on the 
dollar of assessed value of the property. By the same law the principle 
of the taxation of land values was rendered optional in any municipality 
on the decision of a two-thirds majority of the members of the Council 
upon the receipt of a petition of 42 of the ratepayers. The rate in case 
of the single tax was limited to four cents on the dollar of the actual value 
of the land without improvements. These features were continued in the 
new ordinance of 1897 and in the revision of 1905. Both ordinances pro- 
vided for a poll tax of $2.00 per year on male adults, not on the assessment 
roll. In villages the poll tax was $1.00. Under certain circumstances 
employers might pay the income and poll tax of employees, deducting the 
same from their wages. School rates were assessed by the school boards 
and collected like the other rates of the municipality. The rate was not 
to exceed twelve mills on the dollar, the minimum rate being two, per year. 




Assessment in towns and cities was made yearly. Rural municipalities 
had the option of making the assessment every three years. 

In 1901 the ordinance was amended to provide for the erection of a 
village into a town, by a two-thirds vote of the ratepayers of the village 
when the population exceeded 400. 

In 1903 provision was made for incorporating towns within the limits 
of a rural municipality, the area not exceeding 1,280 acres and containing 
a population of 400. A vote was taken of the ratepayers within the pro- 
posed town assessed for $200 or more and if two-thirds voted in favor of 
incorporation the Lieutenant-Governor had power to proclaim the town. 
In this year the exemption on income was raised from $600 to $1,000. 

Every municipal ordinance contained provisions for guarding against 
creating too great a debt by borrowing. By the law of 1884 the check 
upon undue borrowing rested with the Lieutenant-Governor in Council. 
All by-laws for the creating of a debt not repayable within a year required 
the assent of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council. 

In the ordinances of 1894 and 1897 the check was given to the rate- 
payers and the amount of the debt fixed by law. The Council was limited 
in its borrowing to 10% of the assessed value of assessable property and 
every by-law for borrowing money not repayable within the financial year 
required the assent of two-thirds of the ratepayers voting on the same. 
A further restriction was imposed respecting the bonusing of manu- 
factories, mills, railways or any works of a public nature, or exempting 
them from taxation for a longer period than one year unless the by-law 
conferring the same was passed on petition of half the ratepayers and 
the assent after passing of two-thirds or more of the votes polled upon 
submission of the same to the electors. A maximum period was fixed for 
the repayment of such borrowed moneys varying with the nature of the 
debt created, money for lighting, drainage or water works 30 years ; other 
public works 20 years. In 1897 these restrictions were altered to 20 years 
for public works except money for subscribing stock in a railway, street 
railway or bonus to the same, which might run for 40 years. 

This was the state of the law when the province of Alberta was formed 
in 1905 and continued until the legislature of the province began to revise 
the law in 1911 to meet the growing needs of the municipalities. 

Before we continue the subject respecting towns and cities, let us con- 
sider the other forms of municipal or local organization met with in the 
N. W. T. and in our province. The early municipal bodies appear to have 
been very simple and businesslike in their structure. They were off- 
spring of local conditions rather than copies of older communities. The 
herd, fire and statute labor districts are good examples. The first form 
of local organization noticed was the formation of herd districts in 1883. 
Two-thirds of the male occupants over 21 years of age, resident for 3 
months in an area of 144 square miles could, upon application to the 
Lieutenant-Governor in Council, form that area into a herd district. Pro- 


vision was made for a pound-keeper. Other examples of local government 
were the fire districts. These were formed in 1886. By this ordinance the 
majority of the residents of three months' residence in a locality might by 
petition have a fire district formed under a fire guardian. The Lieuten- 
ant-Governor appointed the fire guardian and each resident had to pay a 
rate of $4.00 per year which might be commuted by labor. Similar pro- 
vision was made respecting statute labor districts in 1887. The area was 
144 sq. miles containing 50 people. The road overseer was elected by the 
people. Every resident was assessed one day and each farmer as follows : 
2 days for 160 acres; 3 days for 160 to 320 acres; 4 days for next 320 
acres; 5 days for 1,280 acres; 1 day extra for every additional 640 acres. 

The fire and statute labor districts were combined in 1888. Such 
districts were formed only in unorganized parts of the country. In 1890 
every male inhabitant between ages of 18 and 60 was liable for one day 
under statute labor. 

This subject was frequently the occasion for further legislation. In 
1893 the law re fire and statute labor districts was revised and consolidat- 
ed. The area of a district was reduced to a township containing 8 residents. 
The law was again revised in 1896 and 1897 when provision was made for 
levying rates in lieu of statute labor days, paying the overseer, collection 
of fines and making returns to the Commissioner of Public Works. The 
interesting fact in connection with those institutions is that they evolved 
in local improvement districts in 1898. These districts suggest a loose 
comparison with the counties of Eastern Canada. 

The district was erected by the Lieutenant Governor in Council where 
there were at least twelve residents, one resident to three square miles. 
No district was to comprise more than 72 square miles. The commissioner 
of Public Works for the Territories supervised in a general way the busi- 
ness of the district, — appointed an auditor, prescribed the form of assess- 
ment, taxes and work done. The actual conduct of business, however, 
was in the hands of an elected council of not more than six and not less 
than three. 

The yearly assessment was as follows : 

(1) Every male resident between 18 and 60 years of age not other- 
wise assessed. 

(2) Every owner or occupier of land $1.25 

(a) Parcels not exceeding 160 acres 2.50 

(b) Every 40 acres over 160 acres -621/2 

In 1899 provision was made for large local improvement districts of 

areas greater than 72 square miles. The rate of assessment was: 

(a) Parcels not exceeding 160 acres $2.00 

(b) Every 40 acres above 160 acres .50 

The overseer in a large Improvement District paid all the taxes to the 

Territorial Government which were placed to the credit of the district 
and spent by the Government for the benefit of the district. In later years 


the assessment was made by the Local Improvement Branch of the Dept. 
of Pubhc Works. 

In 1903 the whole law re local improvement districts was revised and 
a new ordinance passed becoming effective Jan. 1st, 1904. The size of a 
district was changed to comprise not less than 108 and not more than 216 
square miles with a population of one resident to three square miles. The 
ordinance indicates the increased importance of the local improvement 
district and the larger delegation of municipal powers to the people. It 
provided for a council of not less than three and not more than six mem- 
bers. The council was empowered to levy the rates limited from 1^ cents 
to 5 cents per acre upon every occupant or owner. This law with inci- 
dental amendments continued until 1907 when the Act was again revised 
by the Alberta legislature. Each year necessary amendments were made. 
In 1908 the maximum rate was fixed at 3% cents per acre in large L. I. D. 
and in 1913 lands under Dominion Grazing lease were taxed f of a cent 
per acre. In 1917 power was given to the Council to bonus a medical 
practitioner to the extent of $500 per year. In 1918 the Local Improve- 
ment Act was repealed except as it was applicable to large Local Improve- 
ment Districts. In 1919 the rate of assessment was changed to three mills 
on the dollar. 

Unincovporated towns: 

The organization of unincorporated towns was effected in 1888 and 
revised in 1893. By these ordinances an unincorporated town meant any 
portion of land not within a municipality and not exceeding 320 acres on 
which not less than 10 dwellings were erected for residence. Upon peti- 
tion of the majority of the ratepayers of such a place and after certain 
formal proceedings were taken the Lieutenant-Governor in Council pro- 
claimed the place an unincorporated town. The principal officer of the 
town was the overseer elected in the usual way. He was entitled to a 
salary of $50.00 per year and a sum of 2|% on all moneys passing through 
his hands on account of the district. He was purely an administrative 
officer and could do nothing which was not authorized by motion passed at 
a public meeting of the ratepayers and on subjects explicitly stipulated in 
the ordinance. The assessment could not exceed five mills on the dollar. 
In 1894 the rate was raised to 10 mills. The overseer could not incur an 
indebtedness above $100.00. In 1895 this ordinance was repealed and 
replaced by the village ordinance which maintained the same machinery 
but extended the subjects that could be legislated upon by the village 
meeting. The villages in existence at that time were Saltcoats, Grenfell, 
Gainsboro, Yorkton, Medicine Hat, Wetaskiwin and Red Deer. In 1897 
an amendment to the Village Act provided for the organization of a ham- 
let which meant a place wherein there were five or more occupied dwell- 
ings within an area of half a square mile. Increased powers of taxation 


were given to villages to impose a poll tax of $1.25 on every male person 
eighteen years not assessed on account of property; also a dog tax of $1 
and $2. In several other matters the pov^ers of local self government were 
extended. A complete revision took place again in 1898. The duties of the 
overseer were increasing for he was then allowed $100 plus 2^% of ^^1 
moneys passing through his hands. In 1899 the requirement for estab- 
lishing a village was 15 dwelling houses with an area of 640 acres. In 
1900 the single tax principle was optional with all villages. In 1901 the 
area of a village was enlarged to 1,280 acres. With a minor amendment 
the ordinance continued in this form until the legislature of Alberta passed 
a new Village Act in 1907. The area necessary was reduced to 640 acres 
with 25 dwelling houses. The overseer was replaced by a council of three 
and large measure of local control was granted to this body. The rate of 
10 mills was maintained as the maximum rate of taxation and income 
from any source was exempt. 

The single tax provisions referred to before were dropped from this 
Act in 1913. A new Act was passed by the legislature in conformity with 
the important municipal legislation of the previous year and local powers 
commensurate with conditions as they prevail today were granted to vil- 
lage corporations. By this Act taxes could be levied on land only, assessed 
at its actual cost value as it would be appraised in payment of a just debt 
exclusive of the value of the buildings or any other value caused by 
expenditure of labor or capital thereon. This devotion to single tax idea 
has not been as successful as the legislature thought it would, nor has sucn 
a policy realized the glowing prophecies of the devotees of this method 
of taxation. 

The year 1912 was the beginning of a new era in the history of munici- 
pal affairs in Alberta. A special department of the Provincial Government 
was created to promote municipal organization and superintend mu- 
nicipal administration. The increase in wealth and population of the rural 
districts, the growing complexity of local affairs and the desire and capabil- 
ity of the people to assume a larger share of local government actuated 
the government to take this advanced step. Up to this period the munici- 
pal machinery for towns and rural districts was provided for in the one 
Act. Now town organization was to be separated from rural municipal 
organization. As we have seen, the municipal ordinance of 1897 omitted 
cities, which from that day to this have been organized by individual char- 
ters suited to each. The legislation of 1912 carried the process one step 
further. Accordingly we have now the Town Act, the Rural Municipal 
Districts Act, the Village Act and the Improvement Districts Act. 

The governing body of a town is the Council of six presided over by a 
mayor. The single tax method of raising revenue was embodied in this 
Act as in the case of villages referred to before. Persons qualified to vote 
are males and females of full age of 21 years who are assessed for $50 or 
upward and sons and daughters of such persons, if 21 years of age and 


resident in the municipality. The rural municipalities are 18 miles square 
and numbered from right to left beginning at the southeast corner of the 
province. Each of these territorial units can be established into a munici- 
pal district or a local improvement district as the electors decide. This 
necessitated the reorganization of all existing local improvement districts 
and re-establishment in conformity with the new ordinance. Hamlets in- 
cluded within such an area come under the control of the rural council 
which consists of six councillors one of whom is chosen as reeve. Taxes 
in rural municipal districts are levied equally upon all rateable land in the 
same manner as in towns or villages, that is, actual cash value without 
improvements, but the council may make the assessment according to 
acreage. In the first year fifty-five rural municipal districts were organ- 
ized though in many parts of the province the people were afraid of the 
new found powers of governing themselves. 

The system of levying taxes imposed by the municipal legislation now 
referred to has been revised several times since 1912. Financial embar- 
rassment overtook practically all towns, rural municipalities and villages. 
This was due to the war and to the sudden depreciation of land values in 
every municipality. The single tax system had been applied too late. No- 
body wanted the land now that rising values would not absorb all tax 
charges. Tax arrearages were reaching embarrassing proportions, conse- 
quently amending legislation was passed in 1916 empowering towns and 
villages to broaden the basis of taxation to include improvements up to 
60% of the actual value. 

In 1920 the taxing power of towns and villages was extended to include : 

(a) Tax on all persons carrying on any trade, business or profession. 

(b) Tax on personal property. 

Single tax was a failure under prevailing conditions at least and now 
looks as if it would be consigned to the scrap-heap of the faddist. 


The first city to be incorporated in Alberta was Calgary in 1893. The 
city was divided into three wards. Taxes were levied on all rateable prop- 
erty and income. One-third of the personal property of any one assessed 
was exempt, and income under $500. Those entitled to vote were persons 
assessed as owners of real property to value of $200.00, tenants of real 
property to value of $400 and for income of $400. Lodgers were not 
classed as tenants and a man living in a house belonging to his wife was 
assessed as a tenant. There was a poll tax of $2 for those not assessed. 
Those entitled to vote on money by-laws were required to be assessed 
as owners of real property to value of $400 or more. 

Edmonton was incorporated as a city in 1904. The Edmonton Charter 
provided for city wards, but provided for a change to general vote instead 
of upon a reference to the burgesses. Those entitled to vote were men. 
unmarried women and widows of full age who were assessed for $100 or 


upwards. This Charter provided for a division of the executive legisla- 
tive functions of the council by the employment of permanent commis- 
sioners to act in conjunction with the mayor, the chairman of the board 
of commissioners. This feature was adopted by Calgary in 1908. The 
councillors were the legislative body and appointed the commissioners by 
three-quarters vote. Two classes of voters appeared on the lists — bur- 
gesses, who alone were entitled to vote on money by-laws, and ordinary 

Taxes were levied on: (a) land, site value; (b) income; (c) busi- 
nesses; (d) special franchises; (e) by a poll tax of $5 on every person 
not otherwise liable to taxation. 

Incomes under $1,000 were exempt. Meanwhile Calgary had altered 
the basis of taxation. The rapid extension of the city and the desire 
of adjacent subdivisions to join the city, led to many makeshifts from time 
to time as to the basis of assessment for various classes of property. Some 
was assessed as agricultural land at $50 per acre and other portions in the 
same subdivision used for manufacturing purposes at $3,000 per acre for 
ten years beginning 1907 and then at $5,000 for a further period of five 
years from 1918. In 1911 the city made an attempt to move towards a 
land tax system by assessing the land at its actual value, and the buildings 
and improvements at 50% of their value such assessment to be extin- 
guished at the rate of 10% per year until taxation of improvements was 
wiped out. This expedient lasted but a year and then buildings and im- 
provements were assessed at their fair actual value. In 1915 the elec- 
torate was widened to include all British subjects, male and female, of 
twenty-one years of age who had resided in the city for six months. The 
last two changes were made subject to a plebiscite. The frenzied quest 
for revenue drove the city to impose a business assessment equal to the 
full annual rental. 

The Edmonton Charter was revised and consolidated in 1913. The 
electoral body was enlarged to include all persons, male and female, of full 
age of 21 years and British subjects whose names appeared on the assess- 
ment roll and also each person who occupied a house and paid or was liable 
to pay rent. Taxation of incomes and businesses was eliminated in this 
revision. Rates exclusive of school, debenture and local improvements 
were limited to 2 cents on the dollar of the assessed value of the property 
within the city. In 1917 the council was compelled to consider the ques- 
tion of taxation. The depletion of land values, and large amount of taxes 
due on thousands of vacant city lots left the council no alternative but to 
include improvements and businesses in the body of taxable property — 
businesses on a sum equal to the annual rental value, and improvements 
on 25% valuation. As a temporary measure of relief the charter was 
amended again to include a tax on incomes for 1918 and 1919. In 1920 a 
service tax was added instead of the income tax. But such fiscal jugglery 
proved very unpopular and is now relegated to the limbo of exploded fads. 


The reader will have observed that little has been said up to this point 
relating to Southern Alberta. The reason has been that the bulk of the fur 
trade was located along the Saskatchewan and the rivers of the north. 
In the early years of the fur trade, buffalo and wolf skins were not highly 
prized, and these were the principal commodities of the south, no great 
attention being paid to the Indian trade in this region of the North West. 
We have seen that the Hudson's Bay Company were unable to maintain 
forts in the south and that Old Bow Fort and Chesterfield House were 
abandoned very soon after amalgamation. Any trade with the Blackfoot 
nation was done at Edmonton or at Rocky Mountain House and sometimes 
at Fort Pitt. 

After 1860 the settlement of the Western States changed the situation. 
American traders began to invade the hunting grounds of the Blackfeet 
which included the whole of Southern Alberta south of the South Saskat- 
chewan and Red Deer Rivers. Large numbers of reckless traders entered 
the country, did as they pleased, ruined the Indians with whiskey, built 
strong forts and established a reign of brigandage and murder. Whiskey 
was traded (to the great advantage of the trader) for buffalo, wolf and 
other skins. Goods to be exchanged for the fur were brought in without 
duty and the whole trade was carried on in defiance of the laws of Canada 
and of the United States. 

One of the principal posts was Fort Hamilton, commonly called "Whoop- 
up", at the forks of the Belly and St. Mary's Rivers, under two notorious 
characters — Healey and Culvertson. Colonel Steele gives us an authentic 
description of this place and the use it was put to by the whiskey traders : 

"There were two walls about a dozen feet apart, built of heavy squared 
logs braced across by heavy log partitions about the same distance from 
one another, dividing it into rooms which were used as dwellings, black- 
smith shops and stores, the doors and windows opening into a square. 
There were bastions at the corners and the walls were loopholed for mus- 
ketry. Iron bars were placed across the chimneys to prevent the Indians 
from getting in that way. There were heavy log roofs across the partitions 
and a strong gate of oak with a small opening to trade through. The trader 
stood at the wicket, a tub full of whiskey beside him and when an Indian 
pushed a buffalo robe to him through the hole, he handed out a tin cup full 
of the poisonous decoction. A quart of the stuff bought a fine pony. When 
the spring came, wagon loads of the proceeds of the traffic were escorted 
to Fort Benton in Montana, some 200 miles south of the border line." 



These brigands made it almost impossible for a legitimate trader to 
stay in the country and for this purpose they maintained the notorious 
"Spitzee Cavalry", to chase their opponents away. American traders pene- 
trated as far north as Edmonton in 1872 and openly sold whiskey to the 
Blackfeet. They infested the Cypress Hills, the favorite hunting ground 
of all the Indians of the Plains. The demoralization of the Indians, the 
danger to the white inhabitants and the injury resulting to the country 
from such a condition of affairs, led the Canadian Government to organize 
the N. W. M. P. in 1873. No institution ever established by the Govern- 
ment of Canada has more fully realised the hopes of the country than the 
Mounted Police. For nearly half a century the Mounted Police have been 
the pride of Canada. Whether tracking the smuggler, the horse thief or 
murderer over the Plains and through the foothills of Alberta, or digging 
some half frozen miner out of the snows of the Yukon, — the "Mounties", 
as they are affectionately called, have always been equal to the task and 
duty imposed upon them. Their splendid contribution to the traditions of 
Canada is that the transition from primitive pioneer conditions to the com- 
plete establishment of civil institutions was conducted through their agency 
with perfect law and order and with the same safety for life and property 
as obtains in the settled communities of the other parts of the Dominion. 
The contrast to the state of affairs that prevailed in Montana in the days of 
the Vigilantes and in Southern Alberta before the Mounted Police came, 
from that which prevailed after 1874, is the emphatic proof that lawless- 
ness is not necessarily inseparable from pioneering. 

The Act establishing the force was passed in May, 1873. Certain 
changes were made in the following year. By virtue of these Acts the 
force consisted of a Commissioner, an Assistant Commissioner, six in- 
spectors, 12 sub-inspectors, two surgeons, a paymaster, a quartermaster, a 
veterinary surgeon, and 300 N. C. O.'s and men divided into six divisions. 
In 1877, owing to the scattered nature of the force, the offices of paymaster, 
quartermaster and veterinary surgeon were abolished and their duties 
transferred to local officers. In 1878 inspectors became superintendents, 
sub-inspectors were raised to inspectors, officers which prevail at the pres- 
ent day. 

Recruiting began in Eastern Canada in September, 1873, under Inspec- 
tor Walsh. None but those able to pass the severe physical test required by 
the Act were accepted — "A sound constitution, able to ride, active, able- 
bodied, of good character and between the ages of 18 and 40 years ; able 
to read and write either the English or French language." A. H. Gries- 
bach, father of Brig. Gen. Hon. W. A. Griesbach, D. S. 0., C. M. G., M. P. 
of Edmonton was the first man to enroll and the first Regimental Sergeant 
Major of the force. In October the force, consisting of "A", "B" and "C" 
divisions of 50 men each were dispatched to Fort Garry by the Dawson 
route and by the end of November were in quarters at the Lower Stone 
Fort. Superintendent Jarvis had command of the Fort until the arrival 



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of the Commissioner, Lieutenant Colonel French. Commissioner French 
soon found his force was insufficient for the big task ahead of him and he 
was successful in influencing the Government to send out three more divi- 
sions, viz. : "D", ''E" and "F" in the spring of 1874. This latter body was 
recruited in the east in the winter and were sent to the west through the 
United States, via Chicago, St. Paul and Fargo. They reached Fargo 
June 12th. This wing of the force consisted of 16 officers, 201 men and 244 
horses. On June 19th they were joined at Dufferin by "A" and "B" and 
"C" divisions which left Lower Fort Garry June 7th, under Major Macleod, 
who had been appointed Assistant Commissioner a few days before. Duf- 
ferin was the point of departure for the long trek over the prairies to the 
foothills of Alberta. Preparations for the march westward were delayed 
by a terrible thunderstorm on the night of June 12th causing a stampede 
of the horses and cattle. It took several days to round up the horses, many 
of which had escaped 40 or 50 miles into Dakota. Besides military equip- 
ment, including two cannon, the force carried a large number of cattle 
for slaughter on the march and cows, calves, plows, harrows, mowing ma- 
chines and other agricultural implements. The force was a colonizing 
agent as well as a territorial police and was to be self-sustaining wherever 
it located. 

The march began June 8th and the train continued in a body until La 
Roche Percee was reached. Here the division under Inspector Jarvis and 
Sergeant Major Steele was detached with orders to proceed to Edmonton. 
This detachment followed the usual trail via Fort Ellice, Carlton, Pitt, 
Victoria and reached Edmonton in October where they wintered before 
establishing the headquarters of the force in this district at Fort Sas- 

The objective of the main force was the junction of the Bow and Belly 
Rivers in Southern Alberta where they expected to come to close quarters 
with the whiskey traders. Leaving La Roche Percee July 29th the Cypress 
Hills were reached August 25th after heavy travelling, which affected the 
horses severely. Resting here until the 31st when Commissioner Macleod 
returned from Wood Mountains with supplies of oats for the horses, the 
train proceeded on its march and reached the Saskatchewan River on 
September 6th. The country was eaten bare by the vast herds of buffalo, 
making it exceedingly difficult to obtain feed for the horses. Colonel 
French considered his position a serious one and consequently led his force 
southward to the Sweet Grass Hills, camping on the West Butte, just north 
of the International Boundary line where abundant grass was found. 
French and Macleod then proceeded to Fort Benton to procure supplies 
and communicate with Ottawa. Orders from Ottawa directed Commis- 
sioner French to return east to Swan River which the government had 
chosen as the future headquarters of the R, N. W. M. P., and to leave As- 
sistant Commissioner Macleod to establish a post on the Belly River. 

On September 21st French set out with "D" and "E" division leav- 


ing "B", "C" and "F" for duty in Alberta. Colonel Macleod engaged the 
famous Blackfoot scout, Jerry Potts, and set out for the Old Man River 
where he decided to build a post. The force moved westward until it 
reached the Benton trail where it turned north to Fort Whoop-up. By the 
time the police arrived at the famous rendezvous, everything was put in 
order and no seizures or arrests were made. On the trail, traders were met 
going south. Their wagons were searched, but no whiskey was found. 
Crossing the St. Mary's River the police crossed what is now known as the 
Blood Indian Reserve and crossed the Belly River at Slide Out. A few 
miles farther west they reached Macleod on the Old Man River and pro- 
ceeded at once to build a Fort since known as Macleod. Police were not 
long in getting in touch with the whiskey traders. Three Bulls, a promi- 
nent Blackfoot Indian, informed Colonel Macleod that a colored trader 
named Bond had traded him a couple of gallons of whiskey for a horse. 
The next day Inspector Crozier and Jerry Potts located the gang at Pine 
Coulee and brought them into camp. They were fined $250.00 apiece. 
Next day a prominent Benton trader called and paid the fine of all but the 
colored man. The robes and whiskey of the gang were confiscated, a prac- 
tice the police followed in all their seizures. Before the end of the year 
Macleod had interviewed all the tribes of the Blackfeet nation and obtained 
assurances of their future good conduct, which the Indians as a whole, 
have ever since honourably observed. They were not slow to interpret the 
intention of the Government and the value of the police. "Before you 
came," said one of the old chiefs, at one of these interviews, "the Indian 
crept along, now he is not afraid to walk erect." 

During the winter of 1874-75 a small detachment was stationed at Fort 
Kipp about 20 miles down the Old Man River from Fort Macleod under 
Inspector Griesbach. In the spring of 1875 Inspector Jarvis commenced 
the erection of the Police Barracks at Fort Saskatchewan, and the steamer 
"Northcote" made her first trip up the Saskatchewan with the materials 
for the Fort. An important post established that year was Fort Walsh in 
the Cypress Hills to check the whiskey traders who by this time were driven 
out of the Macleod district and had taken themselves to the refuge of the 
Cypress Hills. Large bands of Crees, Salteaux, Assiniboine and Sioux fre- 
quented this part of the community and required protection and supervi- 
sion. In August Colonel Macleod travelled from Macleod to Red Deer 
River to meet Major General Selby Smith, G. 0. C. of the Canadian Militia, 
who was on a tour of inspection of the N. W. M. P. On Macleod's return 
he left Inspector Brisbois to build a fort where the Elbow River joins the 
Bow. By December this post was completed and named Fort Brisbois, 
but later the name was changed to Calgary. The Hudson's Bay Company 
had a post up the Bow which was moved up to the new site. The I. G. 
Baker Company built a store and so began the City of Calgary in the fall 
of 1875. Other forts built that year were Shoal Lake, Battleford and 


In July, 1876, Colonel Macleod was promoted to the position of Com- 
missioner on the retirement of Colonel French. A. G. Irvine became Assist- 
ant Commissioner. One of the first duties of the new commissioner was to 
accompany the Treaty Commissioners of Treaty No. 6 with the Indians to 
Forts Carlton and Pitt. This Treaty was signed in August and September 
of that year. The Indian disturbances in Montana in 1876 and the flight 
of hundreds of Sioux to Canadian Territory after the Custer Massacre, 
threw a heavy burden on the new commissioner and his men. The estab- 
lishments at Fort Macleod and Fort Walsh were reinforced to meet the 
danger. The tense situation was handled with conspicuous skill and suc- 
cess. The Blackfeet remained loyal and refused to negotiate with the 
American Indians. Crowfoot, Chief of the Blackfeet, kept Colonel Mac- 
leod fully informed of these overtures and negotiations, asked the advice of 
the Commissioner and rigidly followed it. Southern Alberta was therefore 
the most important district in the whole North-West and for this rea- 
son and also on account of the unsuitability of the Swan River, the head- 
quarters of the police were transferred to Fort Macleod. The strength and 
distribution of the force at the end of 1876 was as follows : Fort Macleod 
five sub-inspectors, 103 men, 105 horses ; Fort Walsh, four sub-inspectors, 
95 men and 90 horses ; Fort Calgary, 35 men and 37 horses ; Fort Saskat- 
chewan, 20 men, 18 horses; Battleford and Carlton, 11 men, 16 horses; 
Swan River, 29 men ; Shoal Lake, Qu-Appelle, and Beautiful Plains with a 
corresponding number of horses for each post. 

A heavy duty in these early days of the force was the conveyance of 
prisoners from Macleod and Fort Walsh to Winnipeg to be tried for major 
crimes. This condition was improved by the North West Territories Act 
in 1875 which became operative in 1877 and establishes a complete sys- 
tem of the administration of justice within the North West Territories. 

In 1877 more Sioux crossed over into the N. W. T. and it was found 
necessary to establish look-out posts at Wood Mountain at the eastern end 
of the Cypress Hills. Sitting Bull crossed into Canada in May with 135 
lodges thus making in all nearly 700 lodges of American Indians who de- 
cided to seek a haven in the land of the "White Mother" as they called the 
Queen, Victoria. This was a big year for police. In June Inspector Irvine 
and Inspector Walsh visited Sitting Bull at a place called "The Hole", 140 
miles east of Fort Walsh in the Cypress Hills to ascertain his intentions 
and to superintend an interview of three American Scouts who had fol- 
lowed Sitting Bull into Canada. Sitting Bull refused to talk to the Ameri- 
can Scouts or to return to American territory. In September Treaty No. 7 
was concluded at Blackfoot Crossing by Governor Laird, He was assisted 
by Commissioner Macleod, who on the conclusion of the Treaty went direct 
to the Cypress Hills to meet the United States Commissioners of the Sit- 
ting Bull commission. The Commissioners, Generals Terry and Law- 
rence, reached Fort Walsh October 16th, being escorted from the border 
by the Police under Commissioner Macleod. Sitting Bull had been induced 


to come to this post to meet the Commissioners, but refused to return to 
the United States. The presence of so many Sioux in the vicinity of the 
Cypress Hills, who were jealously regarded by Canadian Indians, induced 
the government to move the headquarters of the force to Fort Walsh in 
1878. The mild winter of 1877-78 kept the buffalo far out on the Plains 
and forced the Blackfeet Indians eastward over the Plains for their sup- 
plies which brought them into contact with the Sioux. Sinister rumors 
of Indian wars continually reached the Police, but the summer continued 
without disturbance. Both Crowfoot and Sitting Bull were anxious for 
peace and successfully managed to keep the hostile tribes under control. 

It became apparent to the Police and others acquainted with the coun- 
try, that the buffalo were doomed to rapid extinction. The feeding of the 
Indian tribes was looming up as a serious problem. The Government was, 
however, anxious to have the Sioux return to their own country. Commis- 
sioner Macleod estimated in 1878 that the buffalo would last three years 
longer. They practically became extinct in the North- West in 1879. Once 
during that summer a large herd crossed the boundary line of the Cypress 
Hills and small bands reached the Saskatchewan River. The main herd, 
however, was held south of the Milk River about the "Little Rockies". Cut 
off from their usual food supply the Indians of Southern Alberta were in 
a deplorable condition. The Bloods, Peigans and the Assiniboines around 
Cypress Hills, supplied with temporary rations by the Police, set out to 
hunt in U. S. territory, but were ordered out of the country by the U. S. 
Government. The only alternative before the Canadian Government was 
to place the Indians on their reserves, which threw much extra work on 
the Police. They conducted the Treaty payments, supervised the distribu- 
tion of supplies, and did all the work afterwards undertaken by the De- 
partment of the Interior. They were the never-failing handy men of the 
Government. During 1879, 50 criminal charges were tried by the Police, 
35 of which were against white men. Judging from the preponderance of 
the Indian population over the whites, the Indian was fast becoming civil- 
ized, at least enough to observe the law. 

We have seen that since 1876 and 1877 the presence of so many Ameri- 
can Sioux was a disturbing element to the Canadian Indians. The Police 
never relaxed in their efforts to persuade Sitting Bull and the other Chiefs 
of his nation that they could never hope to obtain a reserve and be placed 
upon the same footing as the Canadian Treaty Indians. After exhausting 
every artifice of Indian diplomacy. Sitting Bull decided to surrender to 
the American Government, and in 1881 he left Wood Mountain for Fort 
Buford where he surrendered July 21st. The services of Inspectors Walsh 
and Crozier for conducting the negotiations with such success, were spe- 
cially mentioned by the Commissioner. To have kept a warlike nation like 
the Sioux at peace with thousands of their hereditary enemies on this side 
of the border, in the face of diminishing supplies is an achievement that 
will always redound to the good name and efficiency of the Mounted Police. 


In 1882 the Governor General of Canada, the Marquis of Lome, visited 
the North West Territories. He was escorted by the N, W. M. P. from 
the End of Steel on the C. P. R., a short distance west of Winnipeg, to 
various points in the Territories, crossing the prairie from Battleford 
to Blackfoot Crossing, to Calgary and to Macleod and returning to Canada 
by Fort Shaw, Montana. On this trip the Police escort travelled 2,072 
miles at an average of 35 miles per day. This was the first of such trips. 
The various Governors General of Canada have invariably been escorted 
from place to place while on their journey through the North-West by 
the Mounted Police, who have always elicited the heartiest praise for the 
manner and safety with which these distinguished personages have been 
conducted. Among the most treasured memories of the Force is the 
praise bestowed upon it by His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught, 
than whom there was no one in the Empire better able to judge the 
smartness and efficiency of a military force. 

As an example of the firmness and effectiveness of the police methods, 
the arrest of Bull Elk, a minor Blackfoot Chief in January, 1882, will 
serve to show the character of the men and the arduous tasks imposed 
upon them. Bull Elk fired at a white man on the Reserve at Blackfoot 
Crossing. Notwithstanding that 700 Indian braves armed with carbines 
and Winchesters determined to prevent his arrest, four policemen took 
him safely into custody and held him until a detachment of fifteen men 
under Superintendent Crozier came up from Macleod. This small force 
carried the prisoner safely and without a shot to Macleod and lodged 
him in the guard room. During 1882 the police spent a great deal of time 
in persuading and conducting the Crees and Assiniboines of the Cypress 
Hills to their Reserve. Chief Piapot was especially hard to advise. In 
July he reached his Reserve near Qu'Appelle but returned again in Sep- 
tember to Fort Walsh. His action strengthened the obstinacy of Big 
Bear, who up to this time refused to take treaty. Commissioner Irving 
succeeded in securing the adhesion of Big Bear to Treaty No. 6 in October 
of that year. During the summer this recalcitrant Indian organized an 
attack upon the police headquarters at Fort Walsh, but seeing the effec- 
tive preparations made for his reception, he chose discretion as the better 
part of valor, and withdrew. 

The construction of the C. P. R. and the employment of 4,000 men 
along the right of way, increased the task of the police as it induced 
numerous whiskey traders to frequent a ready market. Horse stealing 
and cattle stealing by Canadian and American Indians imposed additional 
duties on the officers and men and made this one of the busiest years the 
force had up to this time experienced. The total strength was now 474 
officers and men stationed at Fort Walsh, Wood Mountain, Macleod, Battle- 
ford, Prince Albert, Qu'Appelle, Fort Saskatchewan, Calgary, Regina, 
with small units on command at Shoal Lake, Broadview, Moosomin, Troy, 


Moose Jaw, Fort Pelly, End of Steel, Maple Creek, Ten Mile Crossing, 
Crow's Nest Pass, Whoop-up, Stand-off and points along the boundary 
line. The selection of Regina as the capital of the North West Territories 
in 1882 induced the Government to move the headquarters of the Police 
to Regina. The next year a new post was built at Fort Macleod, two 
and one-half miles west of the old post. Old Man River changed its course 
and isolated the old barracks on an island. 

The reports of 1883 and 1884 indicate the prevalence of a great deal 
of horse stealing by the Indians and whites. The American Indians were 
very troublesome. They stole many horses from the Canadian Indians 
and settlers. It was generally impossible to recover them as the Ameri- 
can authorities were indifferent in cooperating with the Mounted Police, 
who invariably gave the utmost assistance to American settlers in recov- 
ering horses stolen in American territory by Canadian Indians. The 
extension of the boundaries of the police district from Manitoba to the 
Rocky Mountains and along the railway built in British Columbia greatly 
increased the work of the police. The suppression of the liquor traffic 
was most arduous, the difficulties of suppressing this trade had increased 
enormously since the days when a few whiskey traders debauched the 
Indians. Then, as now, the Police got very little support from the settlers. 
Few people would risk the odium of being informers and local magis- 
trates were averse to trying such cases because very often the culprits 
were either acquaintances, friends or customers. 

In 1884 the Force was increased to ten divisions, each having an 
establishment of fifteen officers, N. C. O.'s and one hundred men. This 
action was necessary to secure a sufficient force to cope with the brood- 
ing troubles of the Rebellion, which broke out in the following year. In 
the troublous year of 1885 Superintendent Cotton was in charge at Mac- 
leod, Superintendent Herchmer at Calgary and Inspector Griesbach at 
Fort Saskatchewan. There was great danger of an uprising of the In- 
dians of Alberta in sympathy with the half breeds and Indians of Forts 
Pitt, Carlton and Battleford. After the fight at Duck Lake on March 
26th, the Indians of Alberta showed signs of hostility and unrest. Ru- 
mors spread with startling rapidity and the settlers were exceedingly 
anxious. There were no telegraphs and only one railroad in the country. 
Southern Alberta was served by one mail a week from Calgary. Super- 
intendent Cotton established a courier service between Calgary and 
Macleod, By this means correct news was obtained of the events from 
outside and greatly aided in calming the fears of the settlers. Superinten- 
dent Herchmer was ordered to accompany Commissioner Irvine on his 
expedition to Prince Albert. Calgary was, therefore, left without de- 
fence and the district thrown into a dreadful state of alarm. The people 
had acquired such implicit faith in the Mounted Police to give them 
protection at all times, that even the cowboys and ranchers had ceased 
to provide themselves with arms. The consequence was that when the 


Rebellion broke out and the Police were ordered east, the cowboys and 
ranchers and settlers, who formerly went about their daily duties armed 
for all emergencies, were defenceless. Major General Strange, who oper- 
ated a ranch at Blackfoot Crossing, organized a troop of scout cavalry 
and an infantry home guard. Major Hatton organized a cavalry corps 
known as the Alberta Mounted Rifles. At Macleod Capt. Jack Stewart 
raised a troop of cowboys known as the Rocky Mountain Rangers, who 
patrolled the country between Macleod and Medicine Hat, giving protec- 
tion to the working parties on the railway and telegraph lines then being 
built to Lethbridge. On April 12th two battalions of the militia, the 12th 
and 65th, reached Calgary. These various units were called the Alberta 
Field Force and were placed by General Middleton under the command 
of Major General Strange. 

The conduct of the Indians at various points in Northern Alberta and 
along the Saskatchewan, rendered it necessary to send a punitive expedi- 
tion with all haste. At Red Deer, Beaver Lake and Saddle Lake, the 
Indians were pillaging and threatening the settlers. Samson's and Bob 
Tail's bands on the Battle River plundered the Hudson's Bay store at that 
place and drove out the white settlers and officials of the Indian farm. 
At Frog Lake on April 2nd Big Bear's band murdered a number of set- 
tlers and carried off the rest of the men, women and children as prisoners. 
General Strange, acting under orders of General Middleton, organized an 
expedition to proceed to Fort Pitt to suppress the Indian rising and cap- 
ture Big Bear. This proved to be a very difficult undertaking and its 
success was largely due to the assistance of the Mounted Police under 
Majors Steele and Perry. 

On April 20th Major General Strange left Calgary with the right 
wing of the column, consisting of Steele's Scouts, and four companies of 
the 65th Battalion. The left wing left on the 23rd under Major Perry, 
and consisted of 242 men and a nine pounder. This piece of artillery was 
very difficult to transport, as the roads had to be cut for long distances 
through the woods. The Rev. John Macdougall was sent ahead of Gen- 
eral Strange with four Stoney scouts to interview the Indians between 
Red Deer and Edmonton, and bring the news of relief to the old trading 
post. The Indians around Edmonton were very excited for a time, but 
the news of the approach of the troops sobered them, as well as the In- 
dians of the Battle River. When the troops passed through the Battle 
River Reserves, the quondam Indian rebels were busy at the plow. 

Before General Strange arrived at Edmonton, Captain Stiff had or- 
ganized the Edmonton Home Guard. The Hudson's Bay fort was put in 
as good a state of defence as possible. All the arms, including two brass 
cannon and all the ammunition in the district, were collected. News that 
Riel had sent a courier to Battleford, Fort Pitt, Saddle Lake, Victoria 
and Lac la Biche, calling the Indians to rebel, coupled with the news of 
the uprising of Poundmaker's men, prompted speedy measures of defence. 


Similar preparations were made at Fort Saskatchewan by Inspector 
Griesbach, who, at the request of the Justices of the Peace of Edmonton, 
took command of the defense forces of the Edmonton district. As the 
wires were cut between Edmonton and Battleford, the courier service 
was established between Edmonton and Calgary, each courier covering 
a beat of 25 to 30 miles. 

General Strange reached Edmonton on May 1st, and Major Perry on 
May 6th. Major Perry left small detachments at Red Deer and Peace 
Hills to keep the line open. The Edmonton volunteers were disbanded by 
General Strange, and many of them joined the transport service of the 
Alberta Field Force. On May 6th, Major Steele's scouts and two com- 
panies of the 65th Battalion left Edmonton for Fort Pitt by the trail 
along the north bank of the Saskatchewan River. They were followed on 
the 8th by the remainder of the 65th Battalion under Lt. Col. Hughes. 
General Strange sent a company of the 65th back to the Battle River, 
and half a company to the Peace Hills (Lucas' Farm) to assist in keeping 
the line open. Rude forts were built at each place, the one at Battle 
River known as Fort Ostell, and the one at Peace Hill as Fort Ethier, 
after the officers in command. On the 10th, Colonel Osborne, with the 
Winnipeg Light Infantry and the Alberta Rifles, arrived in Edmonton 
from Calgary. The Indians at Selvais' settlement and Laboucan's settle- 
ment, on the Battle River, were reported to have received word from 
Poundmaker, and were restless. Inspector Griesbach visited the place, 
but made no arrests. 

On the 14th, General Strange with a detachment of the Winnipeg 
Light Infantry, Major Perry's Police Detachment and the nine pounder, 
took transport down the river in flat-bottomed boats, built by Chief Fac- 
tor Macdougall, assisted by the Edmonton Home Guards. At Victoria a 
part of the force disembarked, and from this point progress was made by 
trail and river until a junction was made with the advance column under 
Major Steele, near Frog Lake. Before proceeding, Victoria was put in a 
state of defence and a Home Guard organized under Rev. Mr. McLachlan. 
Here Strange interviewed Chief Pakan to get some of his men to accom- 
pany the column as scouts. Pakan said he was afraid of Big Bear and 

At Frog Lake the bodies of the murdered white settlers were found 
and buried. The Indians were located near Fort Pitt. General Strange 
and Major Steele pushed on to bring them to an engagement. They 
reached Fort Pitt on the 25th of May, to find it burning and in ruins. 
Scouts were sent out to locate Big Bear. Major Perry, accompanied by 
Rev. John Macdougall and Canon McKay, scouted the country southward 
to Battle River; Major Steele scouted northward towards Onion Lake, and 
back to Fort Pitt. Within a few miles of the Fort he encountered 187 
lodges of Big Bear's band. Steele's force was joined by General Strange, 
who brought up the nine pounder. The Indians were driven from their 





position on the 27th. Next day they made a stand at Frenchman's Butte, 
close by. The Indians' position was one of great strength. Skillfully con- 
structed rifle pits in the scrub on the hillside afforded them excellent 
cover and protection. General Strange, after a preliminary battle, con- 
sidered the enemy too strong to be dislodged, and suspended the battle 
until reinforcements could arrive from Battleford. Meanwhile Big Bear 
and his men abandoned their position on Frenchman's Butte and fled to- 
wards Loon Lake. In doing so, some of the prisoners taken at Frog Lake 

A company of the 90th Battalion, the Little Black Devils of Winnipeg, 
who distinguished themselves so gloriously in the Second Battle of Ypres, 
was sent up from Battleford. Major Perry returned with his detach- 
ment, having gone as far east as Battleford. General Middleton reached 
Fort Pitt, June 3rd. The day before Major Steele began the pursuit of Big 
Bear. He picked up his trail about 50 miles from Fort Pitt, where he 
had a brisk running fight with the fleeing Indians near Loon Lake. Gen- 
eral Middleton, moving by the Onion Lake trail with his force, which in- 
cluded Superintendent Herchmer's Mounted Police, came up with Steele's 
Scouts on June 7th, and began a fresh pursuit of Big Bear across the 
lake. Major Steele and a force of Mounted men with three days' rations, 
were ready on the 10th to make a dash for Big Bear's camp, but for some 
unknown reason they were recalled by Middleton and Big Bear, whose 
band was now breaking up, escaped to the east. General Middleton and 
the police returned to Fort Pitt. Big Bear was captured by a Mounted 
Police patrol at Fort Carlton on July 2d by Sergt. Smart of the Mounted 
Police, and the rebellion was over. 

The services of the Police in the Rebellion may be estimated by Gen- 
eral Strange's opinion of Major Steele's work: "Major Steele and his 
cavalry were the eyes, ears and feelers of the force, and their spirited 
pursuit of Big Bear crowned with success the long and weary march they 
had protected, and, to a certain extent, guided." Criticism was made of 
the Mounted Police for the part played by that excellent force during the 
Rebellion. Such criticism was misdirected. The Police were placed under 
the command of General Middleton by the Minister of Militia. If the 
Militia had been under the Police and Colonel Irvine and his resourceful 
superintendents, the Rebellion would have been quelled with more dis- 
patch and satisfaction to the people of Western Canada. 

After 1885 a change came over the country. The Indians began to 
settle down on their Reserves and submit to the inevitable dominance of 
the white man. The settlement and development of the resources of the 
country began. The problems of the police dealt with the administration 
of justice and the repression of crime that grew with the increase of 
population. The ranching industry began to flourish and with it the 
cattle rustlers and the horse thieves became a thorn in the flesh of the 
police. The vast extent of the country, the great coulees and foothills. 


the great herds of horses and cattle that roamed the open range, con- 
stituted conditions exceedingly favorable to this form of crime, and the 
temptation to run stolen horses or cattle over the International border 
was alluring as v^^ell as profitable to the desperadoes of the bad lands 
of Montana and the Indians and white rustlers on both sides of the line. 
The vigilance of the police boundary riders was never relaxed. Outposts 
were established along the boundary from Manitoba to the Rocky Moun- 
tains to watch these brigands of the range. In 1894 the police broke up 
a gang of forty half breeds in the Sweet Grass Hills, who had been impli- 
cated in the Rebellion of 1885 and who apparently intended to live on the 
ranchers' cattle as their fathers had lived by hunting the buffalo. They 
terrorized the ranchers on both sides of the line and openly boasted they 
would kill any cattle they wanted to use and would heap dire vengeance 
on anyone who opposed them. They were the would-be lords of the hills 
and plains. They would ride to a rancher's door, tell him they intended 
to kill one of his cattle that day and that it would be good for his health 
to stay at home. One day they crossed into Canada, killing some settlers' 
cattle on the way, and ran into Corporal Dickson of the Writing-on- 
Stone Detachment. They camped in a coulee and picketed their horses 
some distance away. Corporal Dickson and his men quietly secured the 
horses during the night. In the early morning the half-breeds came for 
their horses. They were promptly arrested. At the trial it was found 
that the actual killing on this occasion took place a few rods to the south 
of the International Boundary Line and consequently the Mounted Police 
had no jurisdiction. The incident, however, had a wholesome effect as 
the half breeds never again attempted to carry out their depredations on 
Canadian territory. 

While the Indians gave no trouble as tribes, yet it was difficult to 
discipline them to stay on the Reserves and the Police were often blamed 
for not showing their old dash and firmness in dealing with the red men. 
But conditions had changed. In the early days the Indians could retaliate 
only on the police, but when the country was settled with hundreds of 
defenceless settlers, rashness on the part of the Police might have in- 
curred unpleasant and murderous reprisals upon innocent settlers and 
their families. 

In April, 1886, Commissioner Irvine resigned and was succeeded by 
Commissioner Herchmer. His resignation was regretted by the entire 
force. Superintendent Crozier became Assistant Commissioner but was 
succeeded shortly afterwards by Superintendent Herchmer, a brother of 
the newly-appointed Commissioner. Commissioner Herchmer had no pre- 
vious experience with the Mounted Police and his appointment was against 
the traditions of the force. There were a number of superintendents well 
qualified for the position. This, however, seems to be one of the very few 
instances in the history of the Police where political and personal consid- 
erations struck at the discipline and efficiency of this splendid force. 


New outposts were established at Chin Coulee, Forty Mile Coulee, 
Bull's Head Coulee and patrols maintained between them on a schedule 
that required travelling an average of thirty miles per day. Other posts 
in Southern Alberta were Lethbridge, Stand-ofF, Kootenai, Pincher Creek, 
The Leavings (Granum), Kipp, Crowsnest and Peigan. In September of 
this year Superintendent Steele marched "D" Division from Battleford 
via Sounding Lake and Blackfoot Crossing to Macleod. At Calgary Su- 
perintendent Antrobus was in command and Inspector Griesbach at Fort 

Chin Coulee, Forty Mile Coulee and Bull's Head Coulee outposts were 
abandoned in 1887 and others established at Kipp's Coulee, 24 miles 
south of Lethbridge; Milk River, Writing-on-Stone Coulee, 35 miles east 
of Milk River Ridge, and Pend d'Oreille. There was also a new post 
established on the St. Mary's River, 58 miles southwest of Macleod. Leth- 
bridge was made the headquarters of a division that year and commodious 
barracks and stables erected. "D" Division moved to Lethbridge under 
Superintendent Steele January 21, 1887, but was superseded June 7th 
by "K" Division under Supt. A. R. Macdonell, who was soon succeeded 
by Superintendent Deane, who held the post for eighteen years. From 
Calgary, the headquarters of "E" Division, the police patrolled the coun- 
try south to Mosquito Creek and Little Bow, north to Little Red Deer and 
Rosebud Creek, west to the Rocky Mountains and east to Crowfoot 
Creek, Sandhills and Blackfoot Reserve. Detachments in this district 
were stationed at Banff, High River, Gleichen and Scarlett's (the first 
night stopping place north of Calgary on the Edmonton trail). In the 
Edmonton district detachments were kept at Red Deer, Peace Hills, Black- 
mud Creek, St. Albert, Stony Plain, Lac Ste. Anne, Riviere Qui Barre, 
Victoria and Edmonton, with regular patrols between these points. 

These patrols were a very important factor in the peace and good 
government of the Province. The patrolman called on the settlers, taking 
particulars of any complaints, suspicious characters, stray and diseased 
animals. They rode through the herds of cattle and horses on the range 
and knew the brands of the various cattle owners. They were therefore 
in a position to properly supervise and give information on this important 
industry. The movements of the Indians of the entire community were 
under constant survey and were regularly reported to headquarters. 
Prairie fires occupied much time and gave the men of the force a danger- 
ous and most useful work for the community. Assistance was given to 
various departments of the Government. The Departments of Customs 
and of Agriculture were assisted in watching smugglers and preventing 
invasions of mangy cattle and glandered horses from American territory. 
Enormous numbers of American cattle turned loose near the border re- 
quired constant turning back and gave the patrols great trouble. The De- 
partment of the Interior called upon the police to assist in the distribution 
of seed grain and the payment of Indian treaty money. In fact there were 


few duties in connection with the administration of Federal and Terri- 
torial Law that the police were not called upon at one time or another to 
perform. They continued to be the handy men of the Government — jacks 
of many trades and masters of them all. 

The police reports from 1888 and for the next ten years indicate how 
difficult it was to control the liquor trade. The permit system was in 
force and some of the judges held that a permit could be transferred. The 
result was that a person could acquire a considerable stock of liquor with- 
out criminal liability. He could have all his friends transfer their per- 
mits to him. The stock of liquor he acquired in this way was often used 
to conceal a larger stock kept in hiding, which permitted him the best 
facilities for carrying on an illicit trade. Everything was done to thwart 
the Mounted Police in carrying out the law. The permit system, which 
was originally designated to prevent the sale of liquor to the Indians, 
answered that purpose very well. The whites regarded it as an Indian 
law and balked when it applied to themselves, hence the illicit trade had, 
as a rule, the sympathy of the public. 

In 1894 the force was reduced from 1000 to 750. Though the territory 
which it was called upon to supervise had vastly extended in the last ten 
years, the force had done its work so well that such a step was now quite 
justified. Indians, half breeds and whites were all settled down to the 
routine life of a well ordered community. One phase of the great work 
of the N. W. M. P. was done. The Indians had now large herds of cattle 
and were supplied with a creditable equipment of mowers, rakes and 
wagons for hay making. They were now supplying some of the Police 
posts with hay and coal. Skin lodges began to disappear and to be re- 
placed by neat log houses ; and wash stands, sewing machines, etc., were 
common articles of furniture in the Indian home. 

Colonel Macleod died at Calgary in 1894 and Jerry Potts, the famous 
interpreter, in 1896. These were probably two of the most prominent and 
picturesque characters of the whole police force. Colonel Macleod led the 
force into Southern Alberta in 1874 and founded the traditions of honor 
and efficiency that have always distinguished the officers and men of 
the Mounted Police. As a soldier, judge and gentleman Macleod had few 
equals. At the time of his death the Edmonton Bulletin said that no man 
in his time had done as much for Western Canada as Colonel Macleod. 
From the time he arrived his hand was seen in everything pertaining to 
the well being of the people of the North West Territories. He was edu- 
cated at Upper Canada College, Toronto, and Queen's University. After 
he graduated he studied law and was called to the bar. He served in 
the Fenian Raids and in 1870 accompanied the Red River Expedition as 
Brigade Major. In 1885 he was the principal factor in maintaining 
peace among the Blackfeet, who, as Colonel Steele says, looked upon him 
almost with adoration, justly regarding him as the personification of 
truth and honour. In 1887 he was appointed to the newly organized 


Supreme Court of the North West Territories and was one of its judges 
until the day of his death. As one of the Stipendiary Magistrates of 
the North-West, he was ex-officio a member of the old North West Council 
where his legal training and knowledge of the country gave him an ad- 
vantage in planning and carrying through useful legislation. 

A word should be said about Jerry Potts, who was possibly one of the 
greatest guides and interpreters the North-West ever produced. He 
trained the best scouts in the police force and in the early days when the 
prairie was a trackless waste, there were very few trips of importance 
that were not guided by him or men to whom he had taught the craft of 
the plains. His influence with the Blackfeet tribes prevented bloodshed 
on many occasions. He possessed most of the virtues and few of the 
faults of both races to which he belonged. He was a Scotch Peigan. As 
an interpreter he was the most reliable in the police service. He had a 
clear-cut, terse way of his own in explaining to the Indians the remarks 
of the police officials so accurately as to leave no shadow of doubt in 
their minds. 

The second phase of the great work of the N. W. M. P. is concerned 
with the opening up of the new North-West, as Northern Alberta, the 
Peace River and Mackenzie districts are called and the far north from 
Hudson's Bay to the Yukon. Some of the bravest deeds in the history 
of northern explorations and adventure may be credited to the men of 
the northern police patrols. The discovery of gold in the Yukon in 189fi 
riveted attention on the North West Territories. Notwithstanding the 
reduction of the force in 1894 it was called upon to supervise the territory 
from Edmonton to the Yukon and the Arctic Ocean. Patrols were sent 
into the north and 250 men were dispatched for the preservation of order 
and the enforcement of law in the Yukon. In the winter of 1897 In- 
spector Jarvis conducted the first northern patrol into the Athabaska 
and Great Slave districts. He left Fort Saskatchewan January 4th and 
travelled by Lac La Biche, Fort McMurray, Chipewyan, Resolution, Ver- 
milion, Dunvegan, Lesser Slave Lake and Athabaska Landing, making the 
trip in three months. The object of the expedition was to report upon 
the resources of the country for the Government, warn Indians and trap- 
pers against indiscriminate killing of beaver, the illegal use of poisons, 
setting out fires and generally to inspire wholesome respect for law in 
those remote regions. Twenty convictions were made on the trip. This 
was the beginning of a regular system of northern patrols, which have 
been continued to the present day. Other patrols of that year were 
undertaken by Inspectors Snyder, Rutledge and Moody. Inspector Sny- 
der went to Jasper House, Smoky River, Sturgeon Lake, returning via 
Lesser Slave Lake and Fort Assiniboine to Fort Saskatchewan. Ex-In- 
spector Chalmers, on behalf of the Government of the North West Terri- 
tories, was commanded to locate a wagon road from Edmonton to the 
Peace River, while Inspector Moody was given the difficult task of finding 


a wagon road and cattle trail from Fort St. John on the Peace River to 
the Pelly River for parties going into the Yukon from Edmonton. He 
left Edmonton September 4, 1897, and reached Fort Grahame on the 
Finlay River in December. He had to kill his horses to feed his dogs and 
after a long delay which kept him at Fort Grahame until July 1st set out 
again and reached the Pelly River, which he descended to Fort Selkirk, 
arriving at this point October 24, 1898. In December Inspector Rut- 
ledge led the first patrol to Fort Simpson, making the journey from 
Fort Saskatchewan and back in three months and ten days. 

Colonel Herchmer retired in 1900 and was succeeded by Col. Bowen 
Perry. When Colonel Perry took over the command the force was greatly 
under strength and somewhat disorganized on account of the numbers 
of officers and men who had been permitted to enlist for service in the 
Boer war. The police supplied 245 officers, N. C. O.'s and men for the cam- 
paign in South Africa. Such a reduction in strength coming on the , 
eve of a period of unprecedented growth in population, rapid settlement, 
the rise of numerous new communities and the extension of railways 
taxed the force to the limits of its resources. As an example of the ardu- 
ous duties required to be discharged, let us mention the work of Corporal 
Field at Fort Chipewyan in the winter of 1902. The intrepid Corporal 
tramped 1,300 miles with dogs in the depth of winter to find an insane 
man at Hay River and bring him in safety to headquarters at Fort Sas- 

During the ten years ending 1900 the number of detachments of the 
force increased from 49 to 79 and ten years later the number of detach- 
ments had increased to 170. In 1903 Superintendent Constantine went as 
far north as Fort McPherson from which place he dispatched Sergeant 
Fitzgerald, who was afterwards to give his life in the service of the police. 
Sergeant Fitzgerald carried the patrol to Herschel Island and supervised 
the trade of the American whalers with the Esquimaux along the Arctic 
Coast. In pursuance of this policy posts were established on the Hudson's 
Bay by Inspector Moody in 1904 and 1905. In the latter year a new dis- 
trict was established and manned. The new division was designated "N" 
Division with headquarters at Lesser Slave Lake, Superintendent Con- 
stantine in command. To this division was assigned the task of opening 
up the trail from Peace River in Alberta to the Yukon. The trail was 
completed to Fort Grahame in 1906 and the next year to Hazelton, British 
Columbia, but was never carried any farther. From this time forward 
regular patrols were established in the far north along the Arctic Coast 
and the interior, one of the most important being the annual patrol from 
Dawson City to Fort McPherson, a distance of 500 miles across the moun- 
tains. It was on this patrol that Inspector Fitzgerald and party lost their 
lives in 1911, the only ill-fated expedition in the history of the Mounted 


The new" field of operations now covered the North West Territories 
from the International Boundary Line to the Arctic Ocean. The force 
dealt with all classes of men — the lawless element of the border, the cow- 
boys and Indians of the plains, coal miners of the mountains, navvies, 
trappers of the Athabaska and the Mackenzie, the American whalers and 
the Esquimaux at the top of the world. Possibly the most persistent 
class of criminals that the police had to deal with was the cattle and 
horse thieves of southern Alberta. Different methods were used by the 
thieves. Brands were defaced and altered, young calves and unbranded 
cattle were driven off from the parent herd and either killed or branded 
with the thief's brand. A practice grew up that any unbranded animal 
could be claimed by the party who found it. Even the Stock Associa- 
tions attempted to establish the rule that mavericks caught in the Round 
Up became the property of the Association. This practice was declared 
illegal by Chief Justice Sifton in 1903. Another practice was to carry a 
running iron. In stormy weather or during the weaning time the rustler 
picked up the young calves. It was the matter of a few minutes to brand 
the youngsters and appropriate them to the herd of the thief. The herds 
of certain ranchers grew at an enormous ratio. One rancher, whose name 
appears on the police records, began in the spring with 32 cows. They 
proved prolific beyond the bounds of nature. The 32 cows had 68 calves 
that summer. The police investigated the case and a conviction followed 
with a ten year sentence by Chief Justice Sifton in the Stony Mountain 
Penitentiary. In the early days, cattle and horse thieves ran their quarry 
over the border into the United States, but as northern Alberta, Sas- 
katchewan and Manitoba developed, the stolen stock was passed eastward 
and northward. A regular system flourished for eight or ten years. In 
1915 a determined effort was made to break up this gang. Superinten- 
dent Horrigan of the Calgary Division was especially deputed to accom- 
plish this task. So vigorously did he pursue his task and spread the net 
that he secured the arrest and committal of 44 horse and 24 cattle thieves. 
He followed up the good work in 1916 by securing 51 committals. It 
was found that over 40 men were engaged as ringleaders in this nefarious 
traffic. Those who were not arrested and imprisoned quit the country. 
Today this crime has practically become extinct. 

In 1914 the force was increased by 500 men who were taken on for 
one year's service. Over 2,000 men applied for enlistment. The majority 
enlisted on the assumption that a police battalion would be sent overseas 
and at the end of their term most of them joined the C. E. F. 

For many years after the Province of Alberta became organized there 
was no Provincial Police Force. Cities and incorporated towns main- 
tained police officials, but unincorporated towns and in country districts 
the maintenance of law and order was carried on by the R. N. W. M, P., 
by an arrangement between the Federal and Provincial Governments. 
Until the organization of the North West Territories into the Provinces 


of Alberta and Saskatchewan, the guardrooms of the Mounted Police 
were the only gaols in the country and so continued until the establish- 
ment of these penal institutions by the Province. In Alberta gaols were 
established at Lethbridge and Fort Saskatchewan in 1911 and 1913 re- 

It was also the duty of the police to escort prisoners and supply order- 
lies to the Judges of the Court and to supervise prisoners on parole. On 
March 1, 1917, the Mounted Police severed connection with the adminis- 
tration of justice in Alberta. The Province in that year organized the 
first Alberta Provincial Police force and took over the work formerly 
carried on by the Gentlemen of the Scarlet and Gold. 

The long looked for opportunity for the Mounted Police to serve in 
the overseas forces came in April, 1918. This was received with enthusi- 
asm by all ranks and practically every man in the force under the age 
limit and physically fit volunteered. The draft consisted of 112 officers 
and 726 N. C. O.'s and men and left Regina May 30th under Major 
Jennings. The men were given leave and transferred to the C. E. F. 
Upon arrival in France they were immediately sent to the front and 
served in the battle area until the Armistice. The force also supplied a 
squadron for service in Siberia. 

At the conclusion of the war the Government decided to authorize 
the increase of the force to 2,500 as necessity required. On September 30, 
1919, the strength was 60 officers, 1,540 N. C. O.'s and constables and 
833 horses. The jurisdiction of the force extended now to all Western 
Canada. Among its duties defined by Order-in-Council are the following: 

(a) The enforcement of the Federal laws. 

(b) Patrolling and protecting the International Boundary Line. 

(c) Generally to aid and assist the civil powers in the preservation 
of law and order wherever the Government of Canada may direct. 

The extension of jurisdiction and duties has required a reorganiza- 
tion of the force and a redistribution of its strength. The boundaries 
of the old district have been cancelled. Regina is still the headquarters 
of the force. Western Canada is divided into seven police districts as the 
following table will show: 

District. Headquarters. Strength. 

Manitoba Winnipeg 250 

Southern Saskatchewan Regina 75 

Northern Saskatchewan Prince Albert 85 

Southern Alberta Lethbridge 195 

Northern Alberta Edmonton 130 

British Columbia Vancouver 210 

Yukon Dawson 55 

General H. Q. and Depot Regina 200 

Total 1200 


In 1919 the old name was changed to the Royal Canadian Mounted 
Police. The title of Royal had been conferred by Edward VII in June, 
1904. A detachment of the police attended the King's coronation and so 
impressed his Majesty that he remembered the force in the distribution 
of coronation honours. 



One of the greatest tasks of successive Governments of Canada has 
been the settlement of the western prairies. Generally this has been 
encouraged by free grant lands to actual settlers and to colonization 
companies or railway corporations. In recent years, in fact since 1897, 
grants to railways have been discontinued and the policy of granting 
tracts to colonization companies has practically ceased. Land is now 
reserved to the actual settlers. 

The first step in the settlement of the prairies was the adoption and 
execution of a system of survey. After the transfer of the Hudson's 
Bay Company's rights to the Government of Canada, immigrants began 
to come. The completion of the Dawson Route and the Northern Pacific 
Railway in 1872 gave a great impetus to immigration and created condi- 
tions which called for prompt measures to place the settlers on the land. 
At the time of the transfer, settlement was confined to the river banks 
of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, where the Selkirk settlers and others 
occupied lots varying from one and one-half chains to twenty chains in 
width and extending back from the banks of the river a distance of 
about two miles. 

The Dominion Lands Office was organized in March, 1871, under 
John Stoughton Dennis, Surveyor-General, and the first regulations re- 
specting the disposal of Dominion lands were issued on April 25th, 1871. 
Under these regulations, unappropriated, surveyed Crown lands were 
offered for sale at $1.00 per acre, limited to 640 acres to any one person. 
Pre-emption and homestead rights were established and provision made 
for the first railway subsidy in the North West Territories. Lands sub- 
ject to the regulations might be withdrawn from settlement to provide a 
strip three townships wide on each side of the route of the proposed Inter 
Oceanic Railway. 

The first Dominion Lands Act was passed in 1872. This Act has been 
amended from time to time to meet the changing conditions of the coun- 
try, but its main features have persisted to the present and are embodied 
in the Dominion Lands Act of 1908 and amendments thereto. Numerous 
survey parties were placed in the field under the supervision of Mr. Lind- 
say Russell and a grand scheme of surveys outlined which embraced the 
whole of the North West Territories. Meridians and bases were sur- 
veyed and explorations carried on to locate the timber areas and sources 



of water supply. To ensure that in any one township the greatest pos- 
sible number of settlers should benefit from the timber found there and 
to prevent a monopoly thereof by the first settlers, the Act provided that 
the timbered sections should be divided into wood lots and that one lot 
should be apportioned to each homestead of 160 acres. This regulation 
applied only to surveyed lands. The right to take timber or unsurveyed 
lands was regulated by permit, a system which still exists. 


Under the powers contained in the Dominion Lands Act of 1872, and 
succeeding Acts, and regulations based thereon the Dominion lands of 
Western Canada have been disposed of in the following way. 

(1) Half breed scrip. 

(2) Hudson's Bay reservations of one-twentieth of the surveyed 
land south of North Saskatchewan River. 

(3) Lands reserved for education (school lands). 

(4) Military bounty lands. 

(5) Homesteads and pre-emptions to actual settlers. 

(6) Grants to railway companies. 

(7) Sales to colonization companies. 

(8) Special sales of agricultural lands not exceeding one section; 
also sales of fractional quarter sections in special cases. 

(9) Sale or lease of grazing, hay or marsh lands under special regu- 
lations of Governor-in-Council. 

(10) Sale or lease of mining lands (i. e., containing salt, petroleum, 
natural gas, coal, gold, silver, copper, iron or other minerals) under 
special regulations of Governor-in-Council. 

(11) Grants to original white settlers who were born in the North 
West Territories or were resident prior to March 8, 1869. This time 
was extended to July 15, 1870, by 38 Vict. C. 52. 

(12) Indian Reservations. 

(13) Soldier settlement grants. 


By the Manitoba Act (Sec. 31) provision was made for the first time 
for land grants to the half breeds of that Province. An area of 1,400,000 
acres was set apart to be distributed under regulations of the Governor- 
in-Council. Every half breed resident in Manitoba on July 15, 1870, and 
every child of such half breed became entitled to participate in the grant 
of 1,400,000 acres. These grants were free from any services or payment. 

The claims of the half breeds in the North West Territories were first 
dealt with in 1879. The Dominion Lands Act of that year provided for 
the satisfaction of the claims of the half breeds resident in the North 


West Territories outside the limits of Manitoba on July 15, 1870, by land 
grants and the issue of scrip redeemable in land. These people had 
settled mainly along the lake and river fronts. When this enactment was 
executed by the 0. C. March 30, 1885, those half breeds in bona fide 
possession were given plots of not more than 40 acres each along the 
water fronts at $1.00 per acre. In addition they were allowed to select 
160 acres from lands open for homestead and pre-emption entry as near 
as possible to their holdings. The children of half breeds born before 
July 15, 1870, and 1885 were given certificates entitling them to select 
240 acres from any lands open for homestead entry. 

A commission was appointed in 1885 consisting of Messrs W. P. R. 
Street, Roger Goulet and A. E. Forget to ascertain the number of half 
breeds in the North West Territories. On certificates issued by the com- 
mission, scrip was issued to 854 heads of families, the representatives of 
264 deceased heads of families, 1,862 children, and the representatives of 
466 children born in the North West Territories before July 15, 1870, but 
who died before 1885. The whole amount of scrip issued represented 
61,020 acres of land and $663,474.00 in money scrip redeemable in land. 


By the deed of surrender from the Hudson's Bay Company in 1870, to 
the Crown, one-twentieth of the surveyed lands of the North West Terri- 
tories, south of the North Saskatchewan River, was reserved to the Com- 
pany. The right to claim the one-twentieth remained good for fifty years 
from the date of surrender, but all claims to lands in any township had 
to be made within 10 years from the date of survey. The company re- 
tained all its trading posts and stores and in addition was allowed to 
select parcels of land in the vicinity of the posts, the aggregate of which 
was not to exceed 50,000 acres throughout the whole of the North- West. , 
The fraction of one-twentieth of the surveyed lands is computed as fol- 
lows : In every fifth row of townships the whole of sections 8 and 26 and 
in each and every of the other townships, the whole of section 8 and 
three-quarters of section 26. Out of a total of 6,556,000 acres surveyed, 
2,175,700 acres are situated in Alberta. Up to March 31, 1922, the com- 
pany has sold a total acreage in Western Canada of 3,544,580, for the sum 
of $43,345,000. 


Sections 11 and 29 are set apart in every township surveyed by the 
Dominion Government in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and the 
North West Territories for the support of education. The lands are held 
in trust by the Dominion for the provinces. They are sold from time to 
time and the money invested in securities of Canada. The interest arising 


therefrom after deducting the cost of management is paid annually to the 
provinces within which such lands are situated. The money is applied ex- 
clusively to the support of public schools. Up to March 31, 1922, the area 
of school lands disposed of by the Dominion Government in the Province of 
Alberta, after making deductions for canceled sales, was 952,164 acres, 
valued at |13, 161,415, The rate of interest allowed the Province was 
raised from 5 per cent to 6 per cent in 1918. 


By 0. C, April 25, 1871, each officer and man of the Ontario and 
Quebec battalions of Rifles then stationed in Manitoba was given a free 
grant of 160 acres without actual residence. 

By 48-49 Vict. C. 93, grants of land were given to the militiamen en- 
gaged in the suppression of the half-breed and Indian rising of 1885 in the 
North West Territories. Each member of the militia was given the right 
to homestead 320 acres in any even numbered section of unoccupied Do- 
minion Lands, provided application was made for entry before August 1, 
1886. In the following year the same rights were conferred upon mem- 
bers of the irregular forces engaged in suppressing the rebellion (49 Vict. 
C. 29). By the Volunteer Bounty Act, 1908 (7-8 Edw. VII. C. 67) every 
volunteer domiciled in Canada who served with the British forces in South 
Africa during the years from 1899 to 1902 became entitled to a grant of 
two adjoining quarter sections, lands available for homestead entry, sub- 
ject to homesteading conditions. Provision was made for the issue of scrip 
instead of land. No more than 20% of the land in any one township could 
be opened for Military Bounty Scrip. The right to obtain military bounty 
grants expired October 31, 1913. 


The first homestead and pre-emption regulations were authorized by 
0. C, April 25, 1871. These remained in force until 1879. Up to that year 
both odd and even numbered sections were open for entry. In that year 
the Government put into operation the policy of railway land subsidies 
and reserved for this purpose every odd numbered section. Pre-emption 
privileges were abolished on January 1, 1890. After 1896 the Government 
forced the railway companies to select all the lands they had earned and 
discontinued the policy of encouraging railway construction by land grants. 
On September 1, 1908, odd and even numbered sections were again thrown 
open for homestead entry. Pre-emption rights were revived at the same 
time to apply to that part of Alberta and Saskatchewan comprised within 
the following boundaries : 

"Commencing where the west line of range twenty-six west of the 
fourth principal meridian intersects the international boundary; thence 


east along the international boundary to its intersection with the Minne- 
apolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railway ; thence northwest along the 
said railway line to its junction with the main line of the Canadian Pacific 
Railway; thence west along the Canadian Pacific Railway to the third 
principal meridian ; thence north along the third principal meridian to the 
north line of township forty-four to the Calgary and Edmonton Railway; 
thence south along the Calgary and Edmonton Railway to its intersection 
with the west line of range twenty-six west of the fourth meridian ; thence 
south along the west line of the said range twenty-six to the international 
boundary." Pre-emption privileges were abolished in 1914, 

Regulations governing homestead entry remain substantially the same 
as those first issued in 1870. Every male person over 18 years of age who 
is a British subject, or declares his intention to become such is entitled to 
obtain entry upon payment of a fee of $10.00. A widow having minor 
children of her own dependent upon her may make homestead entry. Ap- 
plication must be made by the applicant in person at the Dominion Land 
Office or sub-office in which the land is situated. Entry by proxy is per- 
mitted only in the case of a father, son, brother, or sister. 


In 1879 the government of Canada set apart 100,000,000 acres of land 
in the North West Territories for the support of railway construction in 
Western Canada (0. C. June 28, 1879). The land regulations of 1871 
were superseded by new regulations, authorized by orders in Council dated 
July 9, and October 14, 1879. Odd numbered sections in surveyed terri- 
tory were reserved for railways. Special regulations were adopted to 
apply to lands situated within 110 miles on each side of the Canadian Pa- 
cific Railway. For the purposes of the regulations the line of the Canadian 
Pacific Railway was assumed to follow the fourth base line west of the 
Red River. The country on both sides of the railway line was divided into 
belts as f olows : 

(1) Belt A — 5 miles wide on each side of railway line. 

(2) Belt B — 15 miles wide on each side of Belt A. 

(3) Belt C — 20 miles wide on each side of Belt B. 

(4) Belt D — 20 miles wide on each side of Belt C. 

(5) Belt E — 50 miles wide on each side of Belt D. 

The lands in Belt A were withdrawn from homestead or pre-emption 
entry, and placed on sale at $6.00 per acre. In the other belts the odd num- 
bered sections were reserved for railway purposes and offered for sale at 
the following rates: Belt B, $5 per acre; belt C, $3.50 per acre; belt D, 
$2.00 per acre; belt E, $1.00 per acre. These prices were reduced shortly 

The even numbered sections were opened for homestead and pre- 
emption entry. A homesteader was entitled to a free grant of 80 acres. 


The prices for pre-emptions were as follows in the different belts : Belts 
B & C, $2.50 per acre; belt D, $2.00 per acre ; belt E, $1.00 per acre. These 
regulations were changed by order in Council October 9, 1879, raising the 
homestead and pre-emption entries to 160 acres each. These regulations 
were changed again in 1881 (O. C, December 23, 1881) and again in 1889, 
but the general rule of classifying the lands of the North West Territories 
with respect to their proximity to the C. P. R. was preserved. 
The regulations of 1881 classified the land as follows : 

(a) Class A — Lands for 24 miles on each side of the main line of the 
C. P. R. or any branch thereof. 

(b) Class B — Lands within 12 miles on each side of any other railway. 

(c) Class C — Lands south of the main line of the C. P. R. not included 
in Class A or B. 

(d) Class D — Lands beyond those belts. 

The regulations of 1889 recognized two classes, namely : 

(a) Class A — All lands in the North West Territories south of the 
main line of the C. P. R. 

(b) Class B — Lands not included in Class A. 


The regulations of 1881 introduced a new principle in disposing of the 
public lands. Provision was made for sales of large tracts of land to colo- 
nization companies. The lands were to be selected from Class D men- 
tioned above, i. e., lands situated at least 24 miles north of the main 
line of the C. P. R. or within 12 miles of any branch railway. Two plans 
were adopted : 

Plan No. 1 — Odd numbered sections were sold at $2.00 per acre pay- 
able in five years. In return the companies agreed to place within five 
years from the date of purchase two settlers on each section. The settler 
received 160 acres as a homestead and the right to purchase the adjoining 
quarter at $2.00 per acre. At the end of the five-year period the com- 
pany received a rebate of one-half the original purchase price of the odd 
numbered sections. 

Plan No. 2 — To encourage settlement by capitalists who desired to cul- 
tivate larger farms than under the first plan large tracts in Class D were 
sold at $2.00 per acre cash upon the condition that the colonization com- 
pany would agree to place 128 settlers in each township within five years. 
If this condition was fulfilled the company received a rebate of one-half 
the original purchase price. By the end of 1883 over 26 companies were 
operating in the North West Territories and had purchased 2,973,978 acres 
of land from the Government for the sum of $857,455. An inspection of 
12 out of the 26 indicated that 664 heads of families had been attracted to 
the country by the Companies. This method of settlement was never 
popular with the people of Western Canada. By Order-in-Council June 30, 


1886, the Government terminated the contracts made with the Coloniza- 
tion Companies, and the policy was abandoned. 


Leasehold privileges extend to the following classes of Dominion lands : 

(a) Grazing lands, but not suitable for agriculture. 

(b) Hay and marsh lands. 

(c) Mineral lands and lands containing quarriable stone. 

(d) Irrigation lands. 

(e) Lands required for development of water power. 

These privileges have continued since the first land act of 1872, though 
they have been varied from time to time by Order-in-Council to suit the 
growing conditions of settlement. 

Sales or leases of any lands other than mineral lands do not convey 
title to the following minerals : Salt, petroleum, coal, gold, silver, copper, 
iron or other minerals. 

Agricultural lands may be purchased in parcels not exceeding 640 acres 
under regulations made by the Governor-in-Council. Fractional quarters 
of less than 80 acres may be sold to an adjoining homesteader or owner 
at a rate not less than $3.00 per acre. 

Soldier Settlement Land. 

The return and discharge of many thousands of Canadian soldiers dur- 
ing the late war led to a new scheme for settling Dominion lands and in- 
creasing production, so necessary for the prosecution of the war by the 
Allies. By the Soldier Settlement Act of 1917, the Dominion Government 
undertook to assist soldier settlers with cash loans not exceeding $2,500, 
according to the needs of the individual soldier making homestead entry or 
purchasing patented lands. Power was also given to the Government to 
reserve any Dominion lands for the exclusive entry of soldier settlers. 

The scope of this scheme was enlarged in 1919. Under the Act of that 
year large powers were given to the Soldier Settlement Board to reserve 
any Dominion lands, affect compulsory purchase of private lands for sol- 
dier settlers, to train soldiers in farming, establish training stations in 
agriculture and home economics for settlers and provide subsistence allow- 
ances for such settlers and their dependents during the course of training. 
The Board was given power to sell the land so acquired to soldier settlers 
for actual farming operations conducted by the purchaser. The maximum 
size of a farm was 320 acres. The soldier settler was required to pay 10 
per cent of the purchase price at the time of the sale to him, and the bal- 
ance was spread over twenty-five equal, annual instalments, with interest 
at 5 per cent on the amortization plan, with the privilege of full payment 
at any time. In addition the Board could purchase live stock and sell the 
same to the settler for cash, or four consecutive, equal, annual instalments, 


commencing not later than three years from the day of the sale of the stock 
to the settler, with interest at 5 per cent. Advances for permanent im- 
provements could be made up to $1,000, repayable in twenty-five equal, an- 
nual instalments. 

Under this Act 453,339 acres of Dominion lands have been settled on 
by 1,675 soldiers, and 691,959 acres of private or patented lands had been 
purchased for 3,542 soldiers in the Province of Alberta by the end of 1921. 

Coal, Oil and Gas Lands: 

The first regulations re coal lands were issued in 1881 (Order-in-Coun- 
cil December 17, 1881) and provided for twenty-one year leases of areas 
not greater than 320 acres, subject to a ground rent of 25 cents per acre, 
and a royalty of 10 cents per ton upon all coal taken out of the mine. Un- 
der these regulations it was found that lessees were consolidating their 
holdings and bringing large areas under one management. To obviate this 
practice the Government, by Order-in-Council December 26, 1882, discon- 
tinued leasing in districts where the known existence of coal close to facili- 
ties for reaching a market indicated them as early centres of the coal in- 
dustry. These districts were the Souris River, Bow River, Belly River and 
Saskatchewan River coal districts. Provision was also made for convert- 
ing leaseholds into freeholds. By Order-in-Council March 2, 1883, the 
lands in the above coal districts were opened for sale in areas not exceeding 
320 acres to one person at the rate of §10 per acre for surface and under 
rights. The regulations were changed again four years later. By Order- 
in-Council, October 30, 1887, all minerals were reserved to the Crown in 
patents granted in respect of the surface rights of Dominion lands. 

These regulations continued until 1907. The development of Western 
Canada created a great demand for coal lands, consequently the Govern- 
ment withdrew all coal lands from sale and established a leasing system 
again. By Order-in-Council March 9, 1907, new regulations were pro- 
claimed which, with minor changes, are still in force. 

Oil and gas lands are subject to regulations similar to those regulating 
the use of coal lands. These lands may be leased only for a period of 
twenty-one years, subject to certain conditions respecting drilling and de- 
velopment, at a rental of 50 cents per acre for the first year, and a rental 
of $1.00 per acre for each subsequent year during the term of the lease. 
The maximum area which may be acquired, except by assignment, by one 
person or corporation is 1,920 acres. 


The Township: 

Dominion lands are laid off in quadrilateral townships containing thir- 
ty-six sections of one square mile each, together with road allowances of 




13 : 14 



12 ; II 


15 ; 16 



10 i 9 





II 1 

1 11 1 

1 1 

1 1 

1 II 

•••3l ■•" 










27 ■ 




* I 




1 * ' 







• i4-- 

















ir^^^r— ^ 1 • T i • tr^^r^'~^r 

Moriuments shown thus. 


one chain and fifty links wide between townships and sections. Road allow- 
ances running east and west are two miles apart, while those running 
north and south are one mile apart. 

Meridians and Base Lines: 

Townships are numbered from the First Base Line, which is the 49th 
parallel of latitude, northward, and lie in ranges west of certain initial 
meridians, the first of which is called the Principal Meridian. This is a 
line run from a point ten miles west of Pembina, near where the Red River 
crosses the International Boundary on latitude 49 North, in 1869. It runs 
a few miles west of Winnipeg. The number of ranges between the merid- 
ians varies from 30 at the First Base Line or township one to 26 at town- 
ship 80, decreasing with increase of latitude. There are six initial meridian 
lines w^est of the First Meridian. The Fourth forms the boundary between 
Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Fifth runs a few miles west of Edmon- 
ton. The Sixth, the last to be surveyed, lies within 70 miles of boundary 
between Alberta and British Columbia. 

Base lines are surveyed parallel to Latitude 49, every 24 miles. Cor- 
rection lines or those resulting from the convergence of meridians lie mid- 
way between the base lines. Each section contains 640 acres more or less, 
and is divided into four quarter sections containing 160 acres more or less, 
which are described as S. E., S. W., N. W., and N. E. quarters. The sec- 
tions are numbered from the south-east corner westward in each township, 
the second tier of sections being numbered from west to east and so on 
alternately throughout the township, the last section 36, being situated in 
the north-east corner of the township, as shown in the diagram below. The 
sections are subdivided into quarters. By this system it is possible by a 
very simple formula to designate the exact location of any quarter section 
in any part of the three Provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Alberta. 

Each section is deemed to be divided in 40 acre areas known as legal 
subdivisions, and numbered and bounded as in the diagram below. 


The total area of Alberta is placed by the Department of the Interior 
at 163,382,400 acres. Of this area 85,756,935 acres have been surveyed 
and the disposition of such lands is shown in the following statement at 
the end of the fiscal year, March 31, 1922 : 

Area under homestead (including military homesteads) 18,300,000 acres 
Area under pre-emption, purchased homesteads sales, 

Half-Breed scrip, bounty grants, special grants, etc. 3,895,100 " 

Area granted to railway companies 13,120,014 

Area granted to Hudson's Bay Company 2,175,700 " 

Area of School Land Endowment (1-18 of area surveyed 

in sections) 3,755,700 


Area sold subject to reclamation by drainage 32,505 Acres 

Area sold under irrigation system 980,850 " 

Area under timber berths 1,293,900 " 

Area under grazing leases 2,933,400 " 

Area of forest reserves and parks 16,754,000 " 

Area reserved for forestry purposes (inside surveyed 

tract) 1,677,500 " 

Area of road allowances 1,287,200 " 

Area of parish and river lots 118,564 " 

Area of Indian reserves 1,367,974 " 

Area of water-covered lands (inside surveyed tracts), 2,302,200 " 

Area now available for entry 15,460,100 " 

Area of Indian Reserves surrendered 302,228 " 

Total surveyed area 85,756,935 " 

Surveyed area: 

Land 83,454,735 " 

Water 2,302,200 " 

Total 85,756,935 " 

Unsurveyed area: 

Land 75,423,925 " 

Water 2,201,540 " 

Total 77,625,465 " 

Total area : 

Land 158,878,660 " 

Water 4,503,740 " 

Grand Total 163,382,400 " 



We have seen in the earlier chapters that Alberta was in the possession 
of several tribes of Indians when the first white travellers reached its 
borders. The various tribes represented branches of the three great In- 
dian families or linguistic groups as follows : 

Algonquian, western division, comprising Blackfeet (Siksika), Bloods, 
(Kainah), Peigans. 

Algonquian, northern division, Crees, Plain Wood and Swampy. 

Athapascan, comprising Chipewyans, Beavers, Yellowknives, Dogribs 
and Hares. The Sarcees (Sarsi) who belong to this stock are politically 
allied to the Blackfoot Confederacy. 

Siouan, comprising Assiniboines or Stonies. 

Other groups represented in the early history of the province are the 
Kutenai, the Iroquois, Gros Ventres or Atsina. The Iroquois were brought 
to the North Saskatchwan River by the North West Company about 1800. 

The Blackfeet were the advance guard of the Algonquian emigration 
to the west. Mackenzie mentions them and says that about 1790 they 
occupied territory between the south and north Saskatchewan Rivers and 
were in slow migration toward the northwest encroaching on the Atha- 
pascans. This migration was deflected southward by the Crees, who 
having been joined with the Assiniboines, sought the plains westward to 
hunt the bufl'alo, hence the unrelenting hostility between the two con- 
federacies of the west. The pressure of the Crees upon the Blackfeet drove 
the latter finally to the country south of the south branch of the Sas- 
katchewan. Until they were placed on Reserves in 1877 they roamed from 
the Cypress Hills to the Rocky Mountains and southward to the Missouri 
River. The Crees pushed northward as well as southward until they 
came in contact with the Chipewyans and Slaves along the Churchill River 
and on the shores of Lake Athabasca. After they obtained firearms from 
the fur traders they were able to drive these tribes from their hunting 
and fishing grounds, but were forced back again, when the Chipewyans 
succeeded in securing arms. The Blackfeet quickly adapted themselves 
from the sedentary life of their ancestors to the roving life of buffalo 
hunters. Once established on the plains of Southern Alberta they held 
it against invasion from every side, from the Crows, Flatheads and 
Kutenai of Montana and Washington, from the Assiniboines of the Cypress 



Hills and Wood Mountains and from the Crees of the north. In their 
raids to the south they secured horses and became famous for great herds 
of fine horses. The horse made them formidable in war and successful 
in the chase. They dwelt in tepees shifting periodically from place to 
place. They gave little attention to agriculture except the cultivation of 
a species of tobacco and they gathered camas roots in the foothills. The 
three main divisions lived independently of each other. Each had its own 
head chief, council, and sun dance. They worshipped the sun and a 
supernatural being known as Napi or Old Man, a sort of secondary creator. 
They laid their dead in trees or in tepees on some prominent hill. They 
were restless, aggressive, and predatory people and were constantly at 
war with all their neighbors. Their general attitude towards the Hud- 
son's Bay Company was always one of doubtful friendship. 

The Crees were divided into Wood, Plain and Swampy Crees according 
to the nature of the locality in which they lived. The Plain and Wood 
Crees lived in Alberta, but the Swampy Crees lived east of Lake Winnipeg 
m the marshy regions around Hudson's Bay. The Crees were always 
closely associated with the Hudson's Bay Company and regular visitors 
to the Company's posts. They were employed as hunters, canoe men and 
guides. The Crees worshipped a being akin to the Old Man of the 
Blackfeet, called Wisukatcak. They buried their dead in shallow graves, 
covering the same with stones or earth. If the deceased were a warrior 
or medicine man of renown, his body was laid on a scaffold. 

The Chipewyans, Slaves, Beavers, the Sarsi and other tribes of the 
Athapascan family have shown little coherence and less power of main- 
taining their own culture than either the Crees or Blackfeet. They have 
assimilated the customs and arts of all the surrounding tribes. 

From the advent of the white men, the Indian population steadily 
declined. Mackenzie estimated the Blackfeet in 1790 at 2,300 warriors 
or 9,000 souls. The smallpox scourge killed off large numbers in 1780, 
1838, 1845, 1858 and 1859. Many died of measles in 1864. Smallpox raged 
among them again in 1870. Added to these calamities were the ravages 
of intemperance caused by American traders. To the American trader 
the only good Indian was a dead Indian and consequently the murderous 
proclivities of these outlaws were responsible for the death of many of 
the Indian population, e. g., in 1873 American outlaws shot 23 Assiniboines 
near the Cypress Hills as a pastime on the pretext of horse stealing. The 
Crees were estimated at about 15,000 when the fur traders entered the 
west about 1775. They have suffered terribly from smallpox especially in 
the outbreak of 1870. 

When Canada took over the Hudson's Bay territory in 1870, one of 
the conditions of the surrender was that the Indian population would be 
justly and humanely dealt with. The people of Canada have sincerely 
and generously kept this pact. The Indian title to the lands of the plains 
and forests was recognized. Treaties were made with the various tribes, 




reserves were given for permanent residence and in lieu of the hunting 
privileges, food and money have been regularly supplied. Many of the 
Indians, of course, are self sustaining and have acquired the arts of agri- 
culture and civilized life. As far as Alberta is concerned, the first Treaty 
made with the Indians was signed in 1876 at Fort Carlton and Fort 
Pitt. This Treaty included the Indians of central Alberta, the Crees, 
Iroquois, Assiniboines and the few Chipewyans at Cold Lake. Treaty No. 
7, was signed at Blackfoot Crossing in 1877. It included the three tribes 
of the Blackfeet, the Sarsi and the Stonies. The last Treaty was signed 
with the Indians of Northern Alberta in 1899 and included the Crees and 
Beavers of the Peace River District. 

It is difficult to ascertain the names of the first actual white settlers, 
outside of the fur traders and missionaries, who came to the Province. 
Some of the first settlers, like James Gibbons, of Edmonton, are still 
alive. Tom Clover, accompanied by two men. Love and McFarlane, and 
others in the same party, came to the Province in 1864, and discovered 
placer gold in the North Saskatchewan River a few miles below Edmon- 
ton. The place has ever since been known as Clover Bar. Gold had been 
observed by Dr. Hector in 1858. That same autumn a party of miners 
travelled from Idaho via the Columbia Valley, Simpson Pass, to the Bow 
River Valley, along the present Banff-Windermere Highway to the open 
plains where they found a great Indian trail, and following it arrived at 
Rocky Mountain House. Of this party of fifteen, only James Gibbons and 
Sam Livingstone permanently settled in the country. Livingstone finally 
settled in Calgary. Gibbons invented what is still known along the 
Saskatchewan and rivers of the North, as "The Grizzly," a simple appara- 
tus for separating gold from the gravel of the river. By 1868 there were 
about fifty gold workers on the North Saskatchewan. 

The extinguishment of the Indian title was the prelude to railroad 
construction, immigration and settlement. At the time of the transfer of 
the North-West to Canada, there were very few white settlers in Alberta. 
These were generally found close to the Hudson's Bay posts at Edmonton, 
Lac Ste. Anne and Chipewyan. They were mostly men who had retired 
from the Hudson's Bay service to engage in free trade or in agriculture. 
There were also settlements at St. Albert and Victoria, but the inhabi- 
tants were mostly half-breeds. A number of Manitoba half-breeds, dissat- 
isfied with the turn of events in that Province after Riel's first rebellion, 
moved Westward. A few of the half-breed families on the Red River 
reached Alberta and settled on the Battle River, in what is known today 
as the Camrose District. The Laboucan and the Selvais settlements on 
the Battle River were founded in this way. There were also half-breed 
settlements at Buffalo Lake, St. Albert, Beaver Lake, Frog Lake, Lac 
La Biche and White Fish Lake. 

As soon as the survey for the C. P. R. was begun, settlers began to find 
their way along the projected route. The first to arrive in Alberta settled 


in the Edmonton District in the expectation that the railway was to pass 
through or near the old trading post. In 1878 a number of settlers arrived 
at St. Albert from Peace River. Some of them, like the late William Cust 
of St. Albert, had spent several years washing gold from the gravels of the 
Peace River. The route of the C. P. R. was changed to cross the Rocky 
Mountains through the Kicking Horse Pass instead of through the Yel- 
lowhead Pass, Consequently settlement began to follow the new line. 
Medicine Hat, Silver City and Calgary began to grow in the early '80s. 
Silver City was so called on account of the supposed deposits of silver in 
the vicinity of Castle Mountain and rapidly surpassed Calgary. It grew 
in a few months into a city peopled with speculators and with prospect- 
ors from every mining camp from California to Alaska. Today the 
traveller on the Imperial Limited may have pointed out to him a scar 
or two on the mountain side or a few piles of weatherbeaten rubble that 
mark the location of the shadow city of those romantic days. 

Shortly after the Mounted Police established Fort Macleod, farmers 
and ranchers began to take up land in the vicinity of the post. The dis- 
covery of coal on the Belly River marked the beginning of Lethbridge. As 
soon as the C. P. R. was completed as far as Calgary, the trails to Edmon- 
ton and Macleod were improved and year by year the land along the 
trails was taken up and small settlements founded at various points. 
The stopping places formed centres around which the settlement thrived. 
Some of these places like Red Deer Crossing, Battle River Crossing north 
of Calgary and High River, south of Calgary have grown into important 
points. With the construction of the railway north and south of Calgary, 
the settlement of the country became a reality. A steady stream of 
immigrants from Manitoba, Eastern Canada, British Isles, the United 
States and Central Europe set in and has continued ever since. In 1883 
Calgary was a settlement of 300 people. At Morleyville on the C. P. R. 
west of Calgary there was a settlement of sixty people. On the trail from 
Calgary to Macleod there were two small settlements, viz.. High River 
with fifty people and Willow Creek with twenty-five. Beyond Macleod 
at Pincher Creek there was another important settlement of eighty people 
and several ranches. 

The first homestead patent in the North West Territories was issued to 
Thomas McKay of Prince Albert in April, 1883. On the completion of the 
C. P. R. north to Prince Albert from Regina and from Calgary to Edmon- 
ton, the Land Department of the railway company began an active cam- 
paign to attract settlers to the North-West, from Dakota and Washington 
territory. One of the first settlements in the country south of Lethbridge 
was that of sixty Mormon families from Utah who settled at Lee's Creek 
in 1887 and founded the Cardston district named after one of the princi- 
pal settlers. By 1891 this colony had increased to 1,000 souls owning 
23,000 head of cattle and 9,000 sheep. Since that time it has developed 


into one of the most prosperous and populous districts in Alberta. In 
1887 the Canadian Agricultural and Coal Co. of which Sir John Lister- 
Kaye was president, established a number of large and well equipped 
ranches and farms along the C. P. R. at Bantry, Namaka and Langdon. 

After the rebellion of 1885 many settlers entered Alberta by way of 
Saskatoon and Battleford taking up land in the Sturgeon Valley north of 
Edmonton in 1886 and 1887. The next year a number of German families 
settled in the country west of Red Deer in Township 36, Ranges 2 and 3 
west of the 5th Meridian, and in 1889 a large German immigration settled 
at Dunmore, Gleichen, Seven Persons and Josephsburg. A year or two 
later over 200 of these families moved northward and settled in the Stony 
Plain and Beaver Hills districts west and east of Edmonton. 

The years 1891 and '92 witnessed the real beginning of immigration 
to Alberta. Eighty-five families of Austrians and Germans settled in the 
Stony Plain district. A land office was opened in Red Deer and during 
that summer 406 homestead entries were made. Forty-five families of 
Germans from Austria and Russia settled at Fort Saskatchewan, sixty 
families of German Baptists from South Russia settled southwest of Ed- 
monton at Rabbit Hills and thirty-five families of Germans settled at We- 
taskiwin in the same year. The next year thirty families of German 
Baptists from Russia settled in two townships around Leduc. 

The territory between Edmonton and Calgary became the favorite area 
for settlement. In 1892, 3,134 settlers took up land along the Calgary and 
Edmonton Railway, 984 being from Eastern Canada, 620 from the United 
States and 220 from the British Isles. 

Through the efforts of Bishop Grandin and Rev. Father Morin a 
large number of French Canadian settlers were attracted to Northern 
Alberta in the early '90s. This was part of a larger policy of the leaders 
of the French Canadians and the Roman Catholic Church in the West 
to place a sufficient number of settlers of that nationality and religion, 
in order to maintain the minority rights respecting the French language 
and the Catholic religion. Most of these settlers came from the old 
Province of Quebec. A few were repatriated French-Canadians and 
their sons from the United States. The first party arrived at Calgary 
in March, 1891, destined for St. Albert. They proceeded by sleighs to 
Red Deer, refusing to pay $40 per car to the Canadian Pacific Railway 
Company for transporting their effects to the end of the steel, then at 
Red Deer. Here they were met by numerous sleighs sent by their com- 
patriots at St. Albert to fetch the newcomers to their destination. By 
1894 this was one of the most populous colonies in Alberta, comprising 
over 1,000 souls between St. Albert and Morinville. Other French-Ca- 
nadian colonies were established in these years at Stony Plain, Sandy 
Lake, Granger, Vegreville, St. Pierre (now Villeneuve) and Beaumont, 
making in all about 2,000 of a French-Canadian population at various 


points in Northern Alberta, owning 12,000 head of stock. Among these 
people were a number of settlers who had come from Belgium. 

In May, 1892, the Canadian Pacific Railway Company offered for sale 
the odd numbered sections in the townships around Edmonton at prices 
from $3 to S15 per acre. This attracted a great many settlers. One firm 
in Edmonton sold 10,000 acres in two weeks. Land offices were opened at 
Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer by the Company and many settlers were 
brought in from the Palouse country in the State of Washington and from 
Dakota, attracted by the prospects of mixed farming in the Edmonton dis- 
trict. Swedish homesteaders settled around Red Deer and south of the Bat- 
tle River and many newcomers from Nebraska found homes in the vicinity 
of Olds. In the same year about sixty families from Parry Sound, On- 
tario, settled at Agricola and Partridge Hills and Edna in the country 
east of Edmonton ; other settlements of this time included the Moravians 
at Bruderheim and Bruderfeldt and Scandinavians at Wetaskiwin and 

One of the most important of the foreign colonies to be established in 
Alberta consisted of a large immigration from Russia, Galicia and Buko- 
wina. The movement of these people to Canada began in 1896. They 
settled in different parts of the North West Territories, but a great many 
came to Alberta, settling in a very fine agricultural district stretching 
from Fort Saskatchewan to Vermilion. These settlers were devoted to 
agriculture and made excellent progress in wealth and education. The 
census of 1916 showed there were 14,733 classed as Russians, 11,372 as 
Austrians, 9,389 as Galicians and 4,460 as Bukowinians in the Province 
of Alberta. 

A most unique enterprise in the colonization of Alberta was the migra- 
tion of nearly 2,000 people from England to the district now known as 
Lloydminster between the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan in 
1903. This colony was organized by Rev. I. M. Barr and was for many 
years known as the Barr colony and also by the terms The All British 
Colony or sometimes The Britannia Colony with the town of Lloydminster 
as its capital. When it arrived at Halifax the colony comprised 1,964 
souls. It took thirty cars to transport their baggage. They proceeded 
by rail to Saskatoon. The long trail overland to their homesteads was the 
most difficult and trying part of their journey. Mr. Barr deserted the 
colony before it was established but an able leader was found in the Rev. 
George E. Lloyd. With a committee of twelve good men homesteads were 
allotted to the heads of families and after many vicissitudes they suc- 
ceeded in establishing the colony. Though many of these people were ill 
adapted to the pioneering life of the plains and though suffering attended 
their efforts to build homes in a new land, they have succeeded in found- 
ing one of the best settlements in Western Canada. They excel in the 
production of grain and live stock, a tribute to the resources of the district 
and to the adaptability and pluck of the British settler. 




With the turn of the new century the general prosperity that accom- 
panied the world-wide rise of prices was reflected in a great wave of de- 
velopment that swept over the entire North-West. The rich wheat lands 
of Alberta and Saskatchewan, the discovery of the vast deposits of coal 
in Alberta, began to attract settlers by thousands every year from every 
land in the Old and New Worlds. The tide of immigration was followed 
by a great influx of capital. The population of Alberta grew from 73,021 
in 1901, to 184,412 in 1906, to 385,000 in 1911, to 496,000 in 1916, and to 
588,454 in 1921. 

The statistics of the population throw many instructive side lights on 
the history of the Province. The remaining part of this chapter will be 
devoted to a few elementary statistics gleaned from the Census Reports 
of the Dominion Government. 

The first census of the North West Territories was taken in 1881. 
The population at that time comprised 6,000 whites, and 50,000 natives 
(Indians and half-bloods). The population of that part of the Territories 
now included in the Province of Alberta was 18,075. Since that time a 
census has been taken every ten years, and by the Alberta Act, 1905, a 
census must be taken in the middle of every decennial period until the 
population reaches 2,000,000. This is due to the fact that the Provincial 
subsidy is paid partly on a per capita basis; hence the necessity of ascer- 
taining the population at frequent periods. Pursuant to this law, a census 
has been taken in 1906, in 1911, in 1916, and in 1921. 

The table next below deals with the number of families and sex of the 
population at different census periods : 

Census No. Families 

1881 3,802 

1885 3,965 

1891 5,232 

1901 16,305 

1906 44,922 

1911 90,346 

1916 119,510 

1921 141,190 

The rapid increase in the population of Alberta is due principally to 
immigration. According to the census of 1916 there were only 125,603 
persons resident in the Province at that date who were born in the Prov- 
ince. Since the formation of the Province, Alberta has drawn a larger 
immigration than any of the other Prairie Provinces, as the following 
returns will indicate : 


No. Males 

No. Females 





























Fiscal Year. Alberta. Manitoba. Saskatchewan. 

1905-06 26,177 35,648 28,728 

1906-07 17,559 20,273 15,307 

1907-08 31,477 39,789 30,590 

1908-09 ___27,651 19,702 22,146 

1909-10 42,509 21,049 29,218 

1910-11 44,782 34,653 40,763 

1911-12 45,957 43,477 46,158 

1912-13 48,073 43,813 45,147 

1913-14 43,741 40,999 41,640 

1914-15 18,263 16,173 13,196 

1915-16 7,215 6,001 3,487 

1916-17 12,418 9,874 5,247 

1917-18 16,821 12,382 6,252 

1918-19 11,640 4,862 8,552 

1919-20 20,000 11,287 14,287 

Fears have been expressed at various times by men of affairs and 
publicists that there is a danger of foreign immigration swamping the 
native born and destroying the distinctive character of Canadian laws and 
institutions. Up to the present time such fears are groundless. There is 
enough Anglo-Saxon blood in Alberta to dilute the foreign blood and com- 
plete the process of assimilation to the mutual advantage of both elements. 
The census of 1916 and the census of 1921 show in a general way the 
ethnological groups that are fusing to produce a rich and virile nationality 
in Alberta, as is true throughout the entire West. 



Total population 496,525 

Canada 241,357 

British Isles 86,699 

British Possessions 1,483 

United States 91,674 

Europe 71,580 

Asia 3,042 

Other Countries 










The distribution of the population in rural and urban communities 
shows that the cities are growing relatively faster than the rural areas 
as the subjoined table will show: 

, . ,)sa>» '' »»i.> ' >wiv»ro»MMBluil! i ||l!Jllllll|lll. ». mv" ' " i m i ium i m i wp^ » ..I .^'^ii''i ii 'B itwp|^wiwiiw^^gMW!«PIWWiWilWiWiW^lW^WWaii!!iPWI 



Rural 365,550 

Urban 222,904 













Total 588,454 496,525 374,663 185,412 73,022 

Percentage of 

Rural population.- 71.27 61.9 62.1 68.6 73.9 

The principal religions are shown in the following table. The census 
of 1921 showed 64 distinct religions besides 1,615 persons belonging to 
unspecified sects. The Presbyterians stand first with 120,868 members 
and adherents. Then follow in order Anglicans, 98,395 ; Roman Catholics, 
97,178; Methodists, 89,070; Lutherans, 60,573; Greek Church, 35,815; 
Baptists, 27,829; Mormons, 11,373. 


1891, 1901, 1911, 1916 AND 1921. 

Religion. 1921 

Anglicans 98,395 

Baptists 27,829 

Congregationalists 3,228 

Greek Church 35,815 

Jews 3,186 

Lutherans 60,573 

Mennonites 3,125 

Methodists 89,070 

Mormons 11,373 

Presbyterians 120,868 

Roman Catholics 97,178 

Salvation Army 1,773 

All others 



























































Missionary enterprise in Western Canada began with the Jesuit priests 
who accompanied the expeditions of Verendrye. Fathers Mesaiger, Aul- 
neau and Coquart were the first heralds of the Cross west of the Great 
Lakes. But it was not until the coming of the Selkirk settlers to the Red 
River that permanent missions were established. Acting upon a petition 
from the people of Red River in 1817 to Monsignor Plessis, the Roman 
Catholic Bishop of Quebec, Rev. Joseph Norbert Provencher and Rev. 
Joseph Nicholas Dumoulin arrived at Red River in July, 1818, and found- 
ed the first permanent mission in Western Canada at what is now the 
City of St. Boniface. 

The Anglican Church followed in 1820. Rev. John West was sent from 
England by the Hudson's Bay Company and the Church Missionary 
Society to Red River, to minister to the Protestant settlers of the Sel- 
kirk Colony. From the Red River the work begun by these pioneers has 
spread to the Saskatchewan, the Athabaska, the MacKenzie and the Far 
North. It was not until 1840 that the Methodist or Wesleyan Church 
began to occupy the Western field, establishing the first missions at Ross- 
ville, near Norway House and at Edmonton, under Rev. James Evans 
and Rev, Robert Rundle. Eleven years later Rev. John Black, a Presby- 
terian minister from Upper Canada, founded the Parish of Kildonan, 
the cradle of Presbyterianism in Western Canada. In a sense the Pres- 
byterian Church may be credited with the first permanent missionary in 
the West. James Sutherland, a Selkirk settler, who arrived at Red River 
in 1813, was invested with special authority to administer baptism, sol- 
emnize marriage and to expound the scriptures. The three denomina- 
tions alluded to were well established in every part of Rupert's Land and 
the Indian Territories before these territories were united to the Do- 
minion of Canada in 1870, The Baptist Church was the next of the prin- 
cipal denominations to establish in the West in 1873. Lutherans, 
Moravians, Mormons, Congregationalists, Jews and the Greek Church 
grew up with the settlement of the country after the Rebellion of 1885 — 
an epochal year in the history of the West. 

The glowing pageant of the history of Western Canada exhibits many 
characters who have played an heroic part in laying the foundations of 



civilization in the Great Lone Land. In that illustrious procession there 
are no more fascinating or compelling figures than the early missionaries. 
For the joy of bearing the message of life to the savages and the pioneers 
of the plains, these sainted messengers endured perils and privations 
inconceivable — perils of travel on the storm-beaten trail, perils of the 
lake and the river, perils of starvation and disease. 

In the paragraphs that follow in this chapter, the men and the achieve- 
ments of the principal denominations are dealt with in the order in 
which these denominations became identified with the Province of Al- 


As we have noted at the beginning of the chapter the first missions 
of the Wesleyan or Methodist Church in Western Canada were estab- 
lished in 1840. In that year a party of missionaries under Rev. James 
Evans left Montreal to establish stations at different points in the West 
from Rainy Lake to the Rocky Mountains. Mr. Evans was an English- 
man who had spent some time among the Indian missions of Upper Can- 
ada. He was invited by the Wesleyan Missionary Society of England 
to take charge of Wesleyan Missions in Western Canada. At the same 
time three young men — Rev. George Barnley, Rev. Wm. Mason and Rev. 
Robert T. Rundle — were sent from England to assist him, under the 
auspices of the Society, and chiefly at the expense and under the protec- 
tion of the Hudson's Bay Company. Evans accepted the invitation and 
brought with him two young Objibway Indians, Peter Jacobs and Henry 
B. Steinhauer. 

The missions established and the missionaries in charge were as fol- 

Norway House — Rev. James Evans, superintendent, and Peter Jacobs. 

Moose Factory and Abittibi — Rev. George Barnley. 

Rainy Lake and Fort Alexander — Rev. Wm. Mason and Henry B. 

Edmonton and Rocky Mountain House — Rev. Robert Rundle. 

Rundle was the first missionary to visit what is now Alberta and to 
establish missions among the Indians of this part of the West. He 
reached Edmonton September 1st, 1840. He was given quarters in the 
Fort and supplied with the necessaries of life by the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, a custom followed by the Company throughout its wide territory. 
In the course of his ministry Rundle visited Beaver Lake, Rocky Mountain 
House, the Blackfeet on the Bow River and the Stoneys in the vicinity 
of Banff. He camped for a number of weeks at the foot of Cascade 
Mountain in 1841, and ascended the mountain that now bears his name. 
At the Mountain House he met Maskepetoon, the great peace chief of the 
Wood Crees, and accepted an invitation to visit the chief at the Red Deer. 
This visit culminated in the chief's conversion. Other notable Indian 

First Presbyterian Church 


' ;' .■<' 


First Baptist Church 

McDougall Church 



Holy Trinity Church 



neophytes of Rundle were Broken Arm, Stephen Kecheyees and Pakan; 
also Peter Erasmus, a half-breed, still living and long employed as mis- 
sionary and interpreter at Whitefish Lake. During his periods of resi- 
dence at Fort Edmonton, Rundle held school twice a day in the Fort. 

He established a mission at Pigeon Lake under Benjamin Sinclair, 
which was destroyed by the Blackfeet in 1845. In that year we find him 
at Fort Carlton where Paul Kane met him. He left the country in 1848, 
and died in England in 1886. 

During his superintendency of Wesleyan Missions, Evans visited Fort 
Chipewyan, Isle a la Crosse, Fort Pitt, Fort Carlton and many of the 
principal fur posts on the Churchill River as far east as York Factory. 
Endowed with a natural aptitude for linguistic study Evans was the orig- 
inator of the syllabic system of the Cree language, which has been one of 
the great factors in the success of Indian missions by all Christian de- 
nominations in Western Canada and America. Evans made his first type 
from lead taken from tea chests and old bullets, carving the letters with 
his pocket knife. Ink he made from soot ; paper from birch bark and 
with his own hands built a rude press with which he printed the first 
characters of his hymn collections and Scripture translations. This sys- 
tem is based upon a form of phonetic shorthand and is so simple that by 
its use it is possible to teach an Indian to read and write his own language 
in a few weeks. The Methodist Missionary Society saw the great im- 
portance of such an invention, and types, paper and press were sent from 
England to Evans' headquarters at Rossville. The influence of the new 
learning spread far and wide. The Anglican and Roman Catholic 
Churches adopted it. It gave an incentive to invent other similar sys- 
tems for the Athabaskan and Blackfeet tribes. 

The labors of this great pioneer missionary in Western Canada had a 
tragic ending. During one of his trips to a neighboring mission, he acci- 
dentally shot and killed his beloved interpreter, Thomas Hassell, an edu- 
cated Chipewyan. Overcome by grief he left the country and died in 
England November 23, 1846. His place at Rossville was taken by Rev. 
Wm. Mason, who had labored there since 1844. 

In 1854 Indian missions established in Western Canada by the Wes- 
leyan Missionary Society were transferred to the Methodist Church of 
Canada, and soon the splendid work inaugurated by Evans was taken up 
by one who measured up to him in heroism, in adaptability to pioneer 
conditions, in missionary zeal and power over the Indian tribes. This 
was the Rev. George McDougall, the father of Methodism in Alberta. 
Mr. McDougall was commissioned in 1860 by the Methodist Conference 
of Upper Canada to take charge of Methodist Missions in Western Can- 
ada with headquarters at Rossville. He was, by this appointment, chair- 
man of a vast district embracing stations at Oxford House, Rossville, 
Carlton. Edmonton, Rocky Mountain House, Whitefish Lake and Lar. 1^ 


During the interval from 1854 to 1862 the work in Alberta was car- 
ried on by Rev. Thomas Woolsey, and Rev. Henry B. Steinhauer, assisted 
by Rev. Benjamin Sinclair and Peter Erasmus. Woolsey and Steinhauer 
arrived at Edmonton September 26th, 1855, Mr. Steinhauer was sta- 
tioned at Lac la Biche until 1857, when he moved to Whitefish Lake, estab- 
lishing a mission there, where he labored until his death in the closing 
days of 1884. Mr. Woolsey made Edmonton his headquarters, being 
accorded the same privileges as Rundle — a private room and a place at 
the officers' mess. In 1857 he commenced an outpost mission at Pigeon 
Lake and during his residence in the territory visited at various inter- 
vals the Indians at Old Bow Fort, Rocky Mountain House, Smoky Lake 
and Whitefish Lake. In 1862 he determined to establish a mission at 
Smoky Lake, and erected a cabin. Before he left the country he transla- 
ted a number of hymns and portions of Scripture, with the help of Peter 
Erasmus and Jonas, one of Rundle's converts of the Mountain Stoneys, 
for the people of that tribe. His knowledge of medicine gave him a great 
reputation among the camps. He left the country via York Factory in 
1864 for England. Returning to Eastern Canada he continued in the 
ministry until 1885, when he was superannuated and died in 1894. 

In 1862 Rev. George McDougall resolved to establish the Indian mis- 
sions of what is now Alberta, but then known as the Saskatchewan 
Valley, on a more permanent basis. In that year he crossed the plains, ac- 
companied by his son John, from Winnipeg via Batoche, Carlton and 
Pitt to Whitefish Lake, established about 1857. Here he met Rev. Henry 
B. Steinhauer. Several Indian houses had been built around the mission 
and many of the natives were strongly attached to the place. From 
Whitefish Lake he proceeded to Smoky Lake, about twenty miles north of 
the present village of Pakan, on the North Saskatchewan, where he found 
Rev. Thomas Woolsey. Exercising his authority as chairman of the dis- 
trict, he ordered this mission to be transferred to Victoria, now called 
Pakan. He then crossed the Saskatchewan at Victoria, taking with him 
Rev. Mr. Steinhauer and Peter Erasmus, and journeyed into the Battle 
River country to meet the Wood Crees, under their great chief, Maske- 
petoon, who, through the labors of Rundle and Woolsey, was able to read 
the Cree Bible. When Mr. McDougall visited him he was reading the 
8th chapter of Romans. Mr. McDougall next visited Edmonton, where 
he was hospitably received by Chief Factors Christie and Hardisty, and 
proceeded down the Saskatchewan on September 9th for Rossville, on 
Lake Winnipeg. 

In the following year Mr. McDougall returned to Victoria where, ac- 
cording to his orders, the new mission was established, the Indians mov- 
ing from Smoky Lake with the mission. This was his headquarters until 
1871. During the summer he visited the Stoneys South of the Battle 
River, going as far as the Big Canyon, on the Red Deer River. Seed was 
procured from Edmonton and Lac la Biche for the spring crops of 1864 


at Victoria. After seeding, McDougall, with his son John, Mr. Stein- 
haiier and Peter Erasmus visited the Stoneys again and proceeded far 
enough south to meet the Mountain Stoneys. The party returned home 
via Pigeon Lake, where a site was picked for another mission station, 
which was subsequently called Woodville. Two schools under the auspices 
of the Methodist Church were opened this year, one at Victoria and the 
other at Whitefish. These were the first Protestant schools in the Prov- 
ince. They are still carried on by the Methodist Church, and have done a 
splendid work for the Indian and half-breed children. The first teacher 
at Whitefish was Ira Snyder. Other teachers in this roll of honor were 
Miss E. A. Barrett, 1872-1874; Benjamin Sinclair and Edward R. and 
Robert Steinhauer, and J. A. Youmans. 

In the following year the mission at Pigeon Lake was built, and put 
in charge of John McDougall, who for the next half century occupied a 
commanding position in the history of the Methodist Church and the 
Indian aflfairs of the North West Territories. The timber for the mis- 
sion was taken out by the younger McDougall in the fall of 1864. He 
was in charge of this mission until 1869 when he was succeeded by Rev. 
Peter Campbell, who arrived at Edmonton September 21, 1868, having 
taken his wife and two small children across the plains from Fort Garry, 
driving ox carts. Mr. Campbell was one of a party of three young min- 
isters brought out by Rev. George McDougall that year from Ontario. 
The other two were Rev. George Young and Rev. Egerton R. Young, 
famous in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, The former was the first Meth- 
odist minister of Winnipeg. 

For the program of the summer of 1869 the principal missionaries 
of the Saskatchewan Valley organized a big gathering of the Indians on 
the plains with the object of promoting peace among rival tribes and 
educating them in loyalty and Christianity. The Indians and half-breeds 
from Lac la Biche, Mr. Steinhauer and his people from Whitefish Lake, 
Rev. George McDougall and the people from Victoria, the Wood Crees, 
John McDougall with the Wood and Mountain Stoneys, Hudson's Bay 
Company officers — almost the entire population of Central Alberta at 
the time — were included. Following the Indians over the plains was a 
favorite method followed by all the missionaries — before the Indians were 
placed on reserves — Roman Catholic, Methodist and Anglican, to bring 
the gospel to the natives and acquaint them with the policies of the Gov- 
ernment. But this gathering including so many tribes, was the first ef- 
fort of the kind and an anxious experiment for Superintendent Mc- 
Dougall and his son John. The big meeting nearly failed owing to the 
treacherous murder of the Chief Maskepetoon by the Blackfeet in the 
spring of the year. Maskepetoon visited the Blackfeet camp hoping to 
arrange a peace. As he was approaching the camp, bearing a white flag 
and open Bible, a Blackfoot savage shot him. 

Among the chiefs at the hunt were Sayakamat, Chief of the Wood 


Crees after Maskepetoon's death, Pakan, Samson and Ermine Skin — men 
who proved their loyalty in 1870 and 1885. Rev. Father Scollen, the 
Catholic missionary, was in attendance during the hunt, as were also 
Rev. Peter Campbell and Ira Snyder, the teacher from Victoria. No 
doubt this successful "summer school" for the Alberta Indians did much 
to hold them in subjection during the dangerous events at Red River in 
the fall of that year. 

The transition from the rule of the Hudson's Bay Company to that 
of the Government of Canada was an uneasy period for the missionaries 
of the plains. Buffalo were becoming scarcer every year in the valley 
of the North Saskatchewan and the Indians were inclined to blame the 
white men. Besides there were over seven hundred mixed bloods in the 
country West of Fort Carlton, sullen and restless over the disturbances 
at Red River (1869-'70). Added to these difficulties was the terrible 
scourge of smallpox during the winter and summer of 1870 which carried 
off over one-third of the population. The Government of the North West 
Territories and the Hudson's Bay Company sent John McDougall on a 
mission of peace in 1871, for the tribes were gathering at the Hand Hills 
and evil counsel was being spread. Here he met Sweet Grass, Sayakamat, 
Little Pine and their headmen, and better counsel prevailed. For this 
service Mr. McDougall was given the status of an officer in the Hudson's 
Bay Company. 

In 1871 Superintendent McDougall (Rev. George) decided to establish 
the headquarters of the Saskatchewan District at Edmonton. Leaving 
his son John in charge at Victoria and the White Earth Settlement (near 
the site of Old White Earth House of 1810), he built a mission house and 
church outside of the Hudson's Bay Fort, on the site of the McDougall 
Church of the present day. This was the beginning of modern Edmonton, 
and Rev. George McDougall was its founder. Next year the District meet- 
ing of Saskatchewan transferred Rev. Peter Campbell from Pigeon Lake 
to Victoria and John McDougall to Pigeon Lake. 

During the summer of 1872 the first Methodist Conference held west 
of the Great Lakes was convened in Winnipeg. All the missionaries 
from the Saskatchewan Valley attended — Rev. George McDougall, Rev. 
Henry B. Steinhauer, Rev. Peter Campbell, and Bro. John McDougall. 
The conference decided to open a new mission for the Mountain Stoneys 
at Morleyville, named after Dr. Morley Punshon, who attended the con- 
ference, and to put Rev. John McDougall, ordained at the conference, in 
charge. The site of the mission was selected the following spring (1873) 
by Rev. George McDougall, and building commenced in the autumn of the 
same year. Materials for the buildings were brought from Fort Benton. 
This has been one of the most successful Indian missions established in 
Western Canada and is still in operation. 

Rev. Lachlan Taylor, General Secretary of the Methodist Missionary 
Society, visited Alberta in the summer of 1873, with John McDougall as 


guide, calling at Whitefish Lake, Victoria, Edmonton, where he dedicated 
the first McDougall Church building, and Pigeon Lake. Continuing his 
journey southward through the Blackfeet Country, he spent a night at 
Fort Whoopup, and crossed over to Fort Benton on his way home to 
Eastern Canada. Next year (1874) Rev. George McDougall visited all 
the missions in Alberta as far north as Athabaska. Rev. John McDougall 
was sent by the Canadian Government to explain the coming of the North 
West Mounted Police to the Blackfeet tribes of Southern Alberta. He 
visited Fort Kipp, Fort Whoopup and Blackfoot Crossing, where he met 
some of the famous whiskey traders of the time. Here he met Crowfoot 
and Old Sun. The announcement was welcomed by the Blackfeet chiefs 
as one of deliverance and protection from the plundering, murderous 
whiskey traders, but at the same time it was a poignant realization that 
the glory of their nation had departed forever. Henceforth they would 
be wards, not masters in the land of their birth. 

We come now to the end of the Indian regime on the plains. Up to 
this period we have been dealing with Indian missions. After the formal 
entry and taking possession of the country by the North West Mounted 
Police the way was prepared for settlement. From this date onward 
Indian missions have been confined to the Reservations. We hear no 
more of big missionary gatherings of the various tribes during the buf- 
falo hunts. The time had come for permanent missions and settled pas- 

After a trip among the Crees and Stoneys to prepare them for taking 
treaty, Rev. George McDougall and his son John visited the Blackfeet late 
in 1875 to establish a mission among them. A location was chosen at 
Pincher Creek, but the untimely death of the intrepid missionary delayed 
the project for two years. It was not until the summer of 1878 that a 
mission was established among the Blackfeet by the Methodist Church. 

The death of George McDougall at the age of 56, after sixteen years of 
heroic service on behalf of the natives of the plains was a great loss to the 
Church and to the State. The tragic circumstances of his death made the 
loss still more lamentable. Word reached Morleyville January (1874) 
that the buffalo were moving westward. Mr. McDougall, his son John, 
and three others set out to secure a supply of meat. On the 24th of that 
month they were camped about ten miles from where Calgary is now. 
After three days' run they were returning to camp, eight miles away, 
Mr. McDougall, when within two miles of the lodge, went ahead to pre- 
pare supper while the rest brought home the meat. Thirteen days later 
he was found frozen not far from the camp. He was buried at Morley- 
ville. His name and his work will ever be an unfailing treasure of in- 
spiration to the Methodist Church in Western Canada. 

His work was taken up by his son John, then, and for many years 
afterwards, stationed at Morleyville. A church was built at Calgary in 
1877, although John McDougall had held services there from the time 


the police established Fort Brisbois, the first name given the police post 
at this point. Next year he sent Miss E. A. Barrett and one of nis daugh- 
ters to open the first Protestant mission in Southern Alberta at Macleod. 
Six months later Rev. Henry M. Manning succeeded Miss Barrett, and in 
the summer of 1880 John Maclean, a student, took up the work which he 
carried on with pronounced success for over ten years. Meanwhile Mr. 
Maclean completed his theological studies and acquired a wide knowledge 
of Indian history, languages, manners and customs, which he has given to 
the world in a number of books. He is now the chief archivist of the 
Methodist Church in Canada. In 1881 the mission was moved to Blood 
Reserve, where it was carried on until 1892, when it was turned over to 
the Anglican Church. 

In 1880 Dr. Alexander Sutherland, General Secretary of the Meth- 
odist Missionary Society, made a tour of inspection of Westei'n missions. 
He came over the Southern plains from Fort Benton to Edmonton, thence 
by boat down the Saskatchewan to Prince Albert, thence overland to 
Winnipeg. A new church was built in Calgary in December, 1883, a few 
months after the Canadian Pacific Railway reached the town, by Rev. 
James Turner, the first settled pastor. The same year the first Meth- 
odist Church in Medicine Hat was built. Rev. Wellington Bridgeman be- 
ing the first pastor. 

When the coal mines were opened at Lethbridge, Rev. John Maclean 
from the Blood Reserve, held services for the miners on the river bottom 
biefore there was a town of that name. These services were held once 
a month until 1887, when Rev. Wellington Bridgeman of the church at 
Macleod, took up the work. In 1889 Rev. James Endicott, now General 
Secretary of the Methodist Missionary Society, was sent there as a young 
man under the superintendency of Rev. A. B. Hames, of Macleod. 

A new Indian mission was opened in 1883 at Lesser Slave Lake, under 
Rev. E. R. Steinhauer, son of the veteran native missionary of Whitefish 
Lake. The name of this mission soon disappeared from the yearly reports, 
and Mr. Steinhauer was transferred to Morleyville. In the early eighties 
missions were established among the Indians on the reserves on the Bat- 
tle River. Rev. John Nelson ministered to the Stoneys at Woodville and 
also visited the reserves at White Whale (Wabamun) Lake and Riviere 
Qui Barre. Rev. E. B. Glass was in charge at Battle River from 1882. 
After the rebellion in 1885, Rev. Geo. E. Somerset established a new sta- 
tion at Bear's Hill. After the death of Henry B. Steinhauer at Whitefish 
Lake (December 29, 1884), Rev. Orrin German, a famous Cree scholar, 
who had served many years at Norway House, Oxford House and other 
stations in Northern Manitoba, was sent to Whitefish Lake (August, 
1885). He conducted this mission until he was transferred to Battle 
River and Bear's Hill in 1892, where he labored until his death in July, 
1905. Rev. Geo. E. Somerset took charge of the missions at White Whale 
Lake and Riviere Qui Barre (1892), and Rev. E. B. Glass was trans- 


ferred at the same time to Whitefish Lake. Next year (1893) an Indus- 
trial School for the training of the Indian youth was established at Red 
Deer, and placed in charge of Rev. John Nelson and R. B. Steinhauer, 
B.A., another son of the famous missionary of Whitefish. Next in charge 
was Rev. Geo. E. Somerset from 1894 to 1903. Then followed : Rev. John 
P. Rice, 1903-1907; Rev. Arthur Barner, 1907-1913; Rev. J. F. Woods- 
worth, 1913 to the present time. In 1920 this school was moved to a site 
a few miles North of Edmonton. It draws its pupils from Louis Bull's 
Reserve, Samson's Reserve, Paul's Band at Wabamun. 

The importance with which the Conference of Manitoba and the North- 
West regarded its work among the Indians was indicated by the appoint- 
ment in 1903 of Rev. John McDougall, founder of the McDougall 
Orphanage and Mission at Morleyville, to the position of Superintendent 
of Indian Missions for the Methodist Church, and organizing the work 
among the Indians into a separate department or an Indian District. On 
Mr. McDougall's retirement a few years later he was succeeded by Rev. 
Thomas Ferrier, the present Superintendent of this work. 

A Galician mission was established in 1901 at Pakan, the new name 
given to Victoria. The importance of Victoria as an Indian mission had 
ceased. The country South and North of the Saskatchewan River was 
filling up with new settlers from Galicia. C. H, Lawford, M.D., who was 
placed in charge of the new mission, still labors in this field. 

The McDougall Orphanage at Morleyville was closed in 1906, and 
remained closed until 1921, when the institution was reorganized and 
opened as a boarding school. Rev. E. J. Staley in charge. 

The year 1906 brings us to present day conditions. Churches began 
to spring up in every town. Towns grew as railways were extended. 
The Methodist Church, following the lines laid down by the Conferences, 
and directed by the genius of the Superintendent of Missions, Rev. Dr. 
James Woodsworth, pursued a vigorous and comprehensive policy of 
establishing its ministry in every town and settlement, and of strength- 
ening its organization to meet the increasing demands. The territory, 
comprising what is now Alberta, was divided into three districts — Cal- 
gary, Red Deer and Edmonton — with twenty-five stations in each dis- 
trict. Twenty years before, June, 1883, the first Conference in the West 
had been organized in Grace Church, Winnipeg. Rev. Dr. Geo. Young, 
the first Methodist minister in Winnipeg (1868), and then Superintendent 
of Missions in the West, was elected President. At that time there were 
only five self-sustaining fields, forty-six missions to White settlers, and 
seventeen to the Indian tribes in the whole of the North- West. 

Conditions were ready for further advancement in the organization 
of the church in the West. So in 1904 the Conference of Manitoba and 
the North-West, meeting again in Grace Church, Winnipeg, divided the 
jurisdiction into three Conferences, namely: Manitoba, Rev. Wm. Saun- 
ders, President; Saskatchewan, Rev. Hamilton Wigle, President; Alberta, 


Rev. J. M. Harrison, of Medicine Hat, President, and Rev. T. C. Buchanan, 
Superintendent of Missions for Alberta. 

In anticipation of the division of the territory, the Conference of 
1903 authorized the organization of Alberta College at Edmonton as a 
preparatory and collegiate institution under the Methodist Church. Ac- 
cordingly, Alberta College was opened December 3, 1903, with Rev. Dr. 
J. H. Riddell as principal. Dr. Riddell held the position until he took over 
the principalship of Alberta Theological College (now Alberta College 
South), when that institution was opened on the campus of the University 
of Alberta. Rev. F. Stacey McCall succeeded Dr. Riddell as principal of 
Alberta College North. In 1918 Dr. Riddell accepted the principalship 
of Wesley College, Winnipeg. Rev. Dr. A. S. Tuttle then became principal 
of Alberta Theological College. 


In dealing with Roman Catholic Missions, a general review of the 
subject will be given applicable to the whole of the North West Terri- 
tories, followed by a history of the several parishes and churches founded 
in Alberta. 

The Roman Catholic Church began its permanent establishment in 
Western Canada among the Selkirk settlers, the French Canadians and 
Half-Breeds. As already noted, that was in 1818. Over half a century 
was to pass before the Hudson's Bay Company surrendered the country 
to the Dominion of Canada. During that time there was little settlement 
of the country. It belonged to the Indians and the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany. The principal work, therefore, during that period was among the 
Indians. As the work spread among the numerous tribes the demands 
became so great that Bishop Provencher eventually realized that the great 
task of Indian missions could not be successfully carried on by secular 
priests alone. It became increasingly difficult to get young men from 
Lower Canada to man the Western fields. He met with that same disap- 
pointment that Dr. Robertson met with when the great Presbyterian su- 
perintendent complained forty years later that the young men of the 
East heard the call only where the beds were soft and the meals palatable 
and good. 

After twenty-five years of heroic endeavor Provencher had only four 
priests to carry on the work of the Church in the vast diocese comprising 
Rupert's Land and the Indian Territories. The good bishop turned to 
the great religious orders of the Roman Catholic Church. He first ap- 
proached the Jesuits, but finally entreated the Oblates of Mary Immacu- 
late to undertake a foundation of their order in Western Canada. The 
Oblates were an order of missionaries founded by Rt. Rev. Charles J. E. 
de Mazenod, Bishop of Marseilles, in 1816. They were the first mission- 
aries to enter Canada after the conquest and had achieved wonderful 




success among the country parishes of Lower Canada. The coming of the 
Oblates solved the problem of securing men for the Indian missions. For 
the next fifty years scores of young priests, many of them scions of fine, 
old, aristocratic families of old and new France, bade everlasting fare- 
well to home and friends, and became martyrs of the cold amid Arctic 
snows, endured hunger and all the hardships and dangers of nomadic 
life among Crees and Blackfeet, with no reward except to raise the moral 
and material condition of the savages of the land we live in so peaceably 
and prosperously today. The story of Alberta missions is linked with 
the Western Crusade of the Oblates. Although the first Roman Catholic 
missionaries to Alberta were secular priests, the great names associated 
with Alberta and the West — Tache, Grandin, Faraud, Clut, Lacombe, 
Grollier, Petitot, Grouard and Legal — were all Oblates. In 1881 there 
was only one secular priest in the whole of Alberta — Father Bellevaire, 
at Battle River. 

The first Oblates to arrive in Western Canada were Father Aubert, 
from France, and Brother Alexander Tache, a young novice of the order 
from Lower Canada. They reached Red River in August, 1843. Brother 
Tache was a descendant of Verendrye, the first white man to see the Red 
River. A few weeks after his arrival, Tache was ordained and began 
a wonderful career of fifty years' service, first as itinerant missionary, 
next coadjutor to Bishop Provencher, then Bishop, and finally Archbishop 
of the metropolitan See of St. Boniface, the largest ecclesiastical province 
of the Roman Catholic Church in the world. 

Archbishop Tache is the greatest name in the history of the Roman 
Catholic Church in the West. During the fifty years of his ecclesiastical 
reign he was called upon to deal with all the big problems that have faced 
the Church in Western Canada — Indian missions, demands of the settlers 
and half-breeds respecting the monopoly of the Hudson's Bay Company, 
the troublesome incidents arising out of the Riel Rebellions in 1870 and 
1885, amnesty for the insurgents, the use of the French language, sep- 
arate schools according to Roman Catholic standards and practice, the 
neglect of the Indians by the officials of the Indian Department after be- 
ing put on their reservations, and the indifference of the Government of 
Canada with respect to the general administration of Indian affairs. Some 
of these issues were decided against the Roman Catholic Church, but the 
reason was not due to any want of ability, tenacity and consummate 
statesmanship on the part of the Archbishop of St. Boniface. 

On the death of Bishop Provencher in 1853, Tache, at the age of thirty 
years, succeeded him to the See of St. Boniface, having been appointed 
his coadjutor in 1850, with right of succession. At that time the See of 
St. Boniface counted few new parishes and missions — St. Boniface, St. 
Francis Xavier, on White Horse Plains. Of missions there were Lac St. 
Anne; Nativity, on Lake Athabaska, at Fort Chipewyan; St. Joseph's at 


He a la Crosse and Our Lady of Seven Dolours at Fond du Lac. Three of 
these missions were in what is now Alberta. 

As new men arrived and new missions were established, Tache, though 
the youngest bishop in the world, asked the hierarchy in Canada to peti- 
tion the Pope to grant him a coadjutor, leaving the choice to the Superior 
General of the Oblates, Biship de Mazenod of Marseilles. The Superior 
General nominated Rev. Vital J. Grandin, who had arrived at Red River in 
1854, from France, and who was to give forty-eight years of fruitful 
labors in the West, almost equal to the achievements of Tache himself. 
Father Grandin was appointed Biship in December, 1857. 

The Cathedral of St. Boniface, the cathedral with the "turrets twain," 
of Whittier's poem, built by Provencher in 1844, was burned to the ground 
on December 14, 1860. Tache visited Canada and Europe to raise funds 
to build a new cathedral, and to have his plans for a division of the im- 
mense diocese of St. Boniface approved by proper authority. His plans 
were approved, the diocese was divided into two, the dividing line being 
the famous Methy Portage. Rev. Father Faraud was appointed Bishop 
of the new diocese — the vicariate apostolic of Athabaska-Mackenzie — in 
May, 1862, with headquarters at Fort Providence, on Great Slave Lake, 
established by Bishop Grandin in 1861. 

In 1864 Father Vandenberghe was sent from France to inspect the 
Oblate missions in Rupert's Land. In company with Bishop Tache, he 
visited He a la Crosse, Cold Lake, Lac la Biche, St. Albert, Edmonton, and 
Fort Carlton. 

Just now the Roman Catholic missionaries were meeting strong op- 
position from the Anglican missionaries in Athabaska-Mackenzie district 
at Fort Simpson. Bishop Faraud consequently appealed for a coadjutor. 
Father Glut, in charge of Nativity at Fort Chipewyan, was, by special 
permission, chosen at a conference of Oblates of the diocese held at Provi- 
dence, January, 1866, making the fourth Roman Catholic bishop in the 

A second division of the See of St. Boniface was decreed by the elev- 
enth chapter-general of the Oblates, held in France August, 1867. In 
consequence, Bishop Grandin was named vicar of Saskatchewan mis- 
sions, with jurisdiction separate from Bishop Tache. He is better known 
as the Bishop of St. Albert. The new diocese included the basins of the 
Saskatchewan and Churchill rivers, and the valley of the Athabaska River 
as far as Lesser Slave Lake. In this vast territory there were six mis- 
sion centres, namely: Lac St. Anne, St. Albert, Lac la Biche, He a la 
Crosse, St. Paul of the Crees (the present Brosseau on the Saskatchewan 
River), and St. Peter on Lake Caribou. To carry on the work of these 
stations among the Indians were eleven priests, ten lay brothers and nine 
nuns. St. Albert now became the episcopal residence of Bishop Grandin, 
due to the destruction of the entire establishment by fire at He a la Crosse 
in May, 1867. 


The fourth Provincial Council of Quebec met in May, 1868, and decided 
to elevate the See of St. Boniface to the dignity of a metropolitanate. Nat- 
urally Bishop Tache was nominated by the Council as Archbishop of the 
new ecclesiastical province. This act was ratified by the Supreme Pastor 
of the Roman Catholic Church in 1871, and Archbishop Tache was in- 
vested with the pallium in June of the following year. 

After the transfer of Rupert's Land to the Dominion of Canada, the 
proportion of the Catholic population of Western Canada steadily de- 
clined. When the Province of Manitoba was incorporated there were 
5,452 Catholics, 4,841 Protestants and 1,935 of unknown religious faiths 
in the Province. The proportion was still greater in the North West Ter- 
ritories in favor of the Roman Catholics. Btit the tide of immigration 
soon indicated that Manitoba and the North West Territories would be 
overwhelmingly Protestant and English speaking. To cope with the prob- 
lem that inevitably faced his church, Archbishop Tache initiated a 
current of Roman Catholic immigration to the West. Many of the first set- 
tlements in Alberta were established as a result of this policy. The 
migration of the Half-Breeds of the Red River after the rebellion of 1870 
to the North and West rapidly decreased the preponderance of Catholics 
in Manitoba. Special immigration agents working in Eastern Canada, 
and among expatriated French Canadians in the United States were suc- 
cessful in directing thousands of their co-religionists to Western Canada, 
and especially Alberta. 

The control of Catholic higher education, as well as the control of 
missionary enterprises had been under the Oblates since Archbishop 
Tache arrived at Red River in 1845. It had long been his wish to hand 
over the permanent control of the College of St. Boniface to his own con- 
gregation. But the Oblates are a missionary order and not a teaching 
order like the Jesuits and it was decided to place the college under the 
Jesuits. The transfer was made August 13, 1885. Among the priestly 
professors of the new order was Rev. Father Lewis Drummond, after- 
wards known in Alberta as a professor in the Jesuit College at Edmonton, 
and a scholar of great piety and learning. In 1887 the Cathedral begun 
by Tache in 1862 to replace the cathedral built by Provencher in 1833 
and destroyed in 1862, was completed and consecrated. 

The first Provincial Council of the Province of St. Boniface was held 
in 1889 on the 71st anniversary of the arrival at Red River of Provencher 
and Dumoulin. This Council asked for the division of the diocese of St. 
Albert and issued eight decrees on the following subjects : The sacraments, 
education of youth, Indian missions, sanctification of the Lord's Day, 
episcopal jurisdiction, ecclesiastical properties, secret societies and Chris- 
tian mortification. Indeed such a council of the Western hierarchy was 
a necessary preliminary to declare the unchanging position of the Roman 
Catholic Church and strengthen its influence in the conflict that was 
about to break against it. 


Clouds were looming over the horizon. In 1890 the Manitoba legis- 
lature abolished separate schools and the use of the French language and 
two years later similar Legislative action was taken by the Assembly of 
the North West Territories, Archbishop Tache and his bishops protested 
vigorously against the action of the legislature of Manitoba, first on the 
ground that it was unconstitutional, and second that it was a violation 
of assurances given by Premior Green way and Attorney-General Martin 
in 1888. The equal r-ights agitation in Eastern Canada fanned the flames 
in Manitoba and battles, legal, polemical and political, clouded the clos- 
ing years of Tache's life. The result was a defeat, but not a surrender 
for the Venerable Archbishop of St. Boniface. The Privy Council decided 
the Manitoba law was intra vires. The pledge given by the Greenway 
Government could bind only while it held office. Consequently the Gov- 
ernment felt safe, though it could not have felt conscience-clear, in break- 
ing the pledge. The issue was bound to arise and to be settled by the 
Protestant majority, as it was settled by the legislature of 1890. 

Bishop Faraud, owing to growing infirmities resigned his charge of 
the vicariate-apostolic of Athabaska-Mackenzie early in 1890, and died 
in September the same year. He was succeeded by Father Grouard who 
had come from France in 1860 and had served at several missions in the 
North. Grouard used a printing press in his work, printing books in the 
native dialects for the Indians of the Athabaska and Mackenzie. Bishop 
Grouard was consecrated at St. Boniface June 4, 1891. In the same year 
the diocese of St. Albert was divided and a new bishop appointed. Bishop 
Pascal, consecrated in France April 29th. His diocese included part of 
Alberta and extended to Hudson Bay. 

In 1894 the Superior General of the Oblates, Rt. Rev. Louis Soullier, 
visited Canada on a tour of Western missions. In the same year Arch- 
bishop Tache died (June 22, 1894). When he arrived in Red River 49 
years before, there were only four Roman Catholic priests between Lake 
Superior and the Rocky Mountains. At the time of his death within the 
same territory, there were five bishops, over one hundred and forty-seven 
priests, and over 150 sisters. He was succeeded by Archbishop Langevin, 
who was consecrated March 19, 1895. 

It has been said of Langevin that he not only succeeded Tache but 
he filled his place. The truth of this estimate of his ability was tested 
and proven in his negotiations with the Government of Canada in 1896 
in the settlement of the contentious school question arising out of the 
famous Remedial Bill of that year, and again, in the battle that was 
waged over the school clauses in the Alberta and Saskatchewan Acts of 

With the establishment of a Metropolitan See in Alberta in 1912, un- 
der Archbishop Legal, St. Boniface lost its importance in the church pol- 
icies of Alberta, and we arrive at a convenient date to close the general 
summary of the history of the Roman Catholic Church in Alberta. 



The oldest Catholic parish in Alberta is Lac St. Anne, founded by Rev. 
Jean Baptiste Thibault in 1842. The first priests of any denomination 
to perform religious services in Alberta were Fathers Blanchet and De- 
mers on their way to British Columbia in 1838. They passed through 
Edmonton and erected a cross on the site of the Parliament Buildings. 

In 1841 Peeche, the guide of Sir George Simpson on his trip of 1841, 
arrived at Red Deer to beg for a missionary for Edmonton. In the fol- 
lowing spring Bishop Provencher sent Father Thibault. He left St. Boni- 
face April 20, 1842, reaching Fort Edmonton via Fort Carlton on June 
19th. Spending the summer at Fort Edmonton, he returned to Red River 
in October. Next year he returned and founded a mission at Lac St. 
Anne, or Devil's Lake as it was called by the Hudson's Bay Company's 
men. He chose this point rather than Fort Edmonton to be out of the 
fighting zone of the Blackfeet and Crees. In 1844 he was joined by 
Father Bourassa. Next year Father Thibault visited the Chipewyans 
at Lac la Biche, He a la Crosse and Cold Lake, while Father Bourassa 
visited the Beavers at Lesser Slave Lake and the Grande Prairie and 
Peace River country. In the early days of 1846 the good Fathers were 
surprised by an illustrious visitor. This was the Jesuit missionary, Father 
de Smet, who, coming along the Foothills passed through Edmonton, Lac 
St. Anne, and Jasper House, looking for the Blackfeet to press them to 
make a treaty with the Flatheads on the American border. Father Thi- 
bault, worn out by hardships, returned to St. Boniface in 1852, and was 
followed the next year by Father Bourassa. Father Lacombe, yet a secu- 
lar priest, took charge of the mission in 1853 and was soon joined by 
Father Remas, an Oblate, arrived the previous year from France. Here 
the two priests labored for five years, making journeys to the Indians 
at Lac la Biche, Lesser Slave Lake, Jasper House, and following the 
Plains Indians on their buffalo hunts. They were visited by Bishop Tache 
on March 27, 1854, then on a tour of inspection of the various missions 
in the Saskatchewan and Athabaska regions. During this period Father 
Lacombe joined the Oblates, completing his novitiate in September, 1856. 

The Grey Nuns established at Lac St. Anne in 1859, the first being 
Sister Superior Emery, and Sisters Lamy and Alphonse. Other priests 
in charge of Lac St. Anne have been : Father Leduc, 1867 to 1868 ; Fathers 
Andre and Bourgine, 1870 to 1871 ; Fathers Blanchet and Dupin, 1871 
to 1874; Fathers Scollen and Grandin, 1883 to 1884; Father Lizee, 1886 
to 1896 ; Father Vegreville, 1897, when Father Lizee was again placed in 
charge until 1908. Next the mission was under Father Portier and then 
Father Beaudry until 1917. 

In 1889 Father Lestanc, Superior of St. Albert, began the customary 
pilgrimages to St. Anne, which take place each year on the Wednesday 
nearest the Feast Day of St. Anne. 


St. Albert: — The next important mission in Alberta was established 
at St. Albert in 1861. Bishop Tache selected the spot and placed Father 
Lacombe in charge. Next year Father Lacombe started work on the 
buildings, including one for the Orphanage, that has been carried on ever 
since by the Grey Nuns, who moved from Lac St. Anne in 1863. The new 
mission attracted a great number of half-breeds, who settled on farms 
and founded one of the largest settlements in the West at the time. From 
1865 Fathers Tissot and Andre continued the work while Father Lacombe 
founded a new mission, St. Paul of the Crees, on the North Saskatchewan 
River where the village of Brosseau is now situated. Father Leduc suc- 
ceeded to the charge in 1868, and in the same year Bishop Grandin estab- 
lished his palace at St. Albert, a log building 16 feet by 30 feet. The 
ceiling in the chapel was so low that the Bishop could not officiate without 
catching his mitre in the joists. He entered St. Albert October 26th, 
escorted by a cavalcade of half-breeds, having arrived from St. Paul of 
the Crees, where he was met by the eight priests of his diocese — Fathers 
Lacombe, Leduc, Remas, Vegreville, Moulin, Gaste, Andre and Legoff. 

In 1870 a cathedral was built 84 feet by 72 feet, which purpose it 
served until 1906, and is still used as a Concert Hall and Assembly Room 
for the town of St. Albert. That same year St. Albert was raised to the 
dignity of an episcopal See, Bishop Grandin being the first Titular Bishop. 
Previously he had been only Vicar of Saskatchewan and coadjutor to 
Bishop Tache. The new dignity gave him increased jurisdiction. 

Father Lestanc followed Father Leduc in 1874 and remained for three 
years, when Father Leduc returned. In 1878 a number of white settlers 
arrived and gave an impetus to the material progress of the community. 
Next year the mission erected a grist mill and a sawmill. Father Leduc 
remained ten years, when Father Merer succeeded, continuing until 1914. 
Father Legal who had spent sixteen years among the Blackfeet of South- 
ern Alberta, was appointed coadjutor to Bishop Grandin in March, 1897, 
and in 1900 the Apostolic Delegate for the Dominion of Canada came 
purposely to St. Albert to visit the aged Bishop. In the same year a 
Diocesan Seminary was inaugurated. In 1902 the saintly bishop died and 
was succeeded by Bishop Legal. Apostolic Delegates have visited St. 
Albert on two occasions since — Msgr. Sbaretti in 1902 and Msgr. Pele- 
grino Stagni in 1910. 

The progress of Roman Catholic missions in all parts of the Province 
required the erection of another diocese, the Diocese of Calgary, in 1912. 
At the same time the diocese of St. Albert was raised to the dignity of a 
Metropolitan See, under Archbishop Legal. The growth of Edmonton to a 
modern city induced the Pope to order the establishment of the cathedral 
and archiepiscopal residence at Edmonton instead of the town of St. 
Albert, and the archdiocese named the Archdiocese of Edmonton, The 
venerable archbishop died in March, 1920, and in December, 1920, His 
Grace Archbishop O'Leary was appointed in his place. 


With the appointment of the present Archbishop the number of secu- 
lar priests in the Province will increase. For eighty years the Oblates 
governed and manned the diocese of what is now Alberta. In their long 
and honorable history here and elsewhere in Western Canada they have 
amply justified the hopes of Provencher and Tache, and their great sacri- 
fices and achievements will never be forgotten by the people of the West. 

St. Joachim's, Edmonton: — As we have seen, Fathers Blanchet and De- 
mers passed through Edmonton in 1838 and Father Thibault was there 
in 1842. For the next fifteen years the priests from St. Anne often vis- 
ited Edmonton. The Journals of the Fort frequently relate arrival and 
departure of Fathers Lacombe, Remas and Bourassa, but as yet there was 
not a permanent priest. For example, there is an entry in the Journal of 
March 10, 1856, as follows : "Messrs. Moberly and John Sinclair, accompan- 
ied by Abraham Satois, went on a jaunt to Lac St. Anne to bring back 
some carts left there last fall as well as to confess their sins." Rev. Robt. 
Rundle was often a visitor to the fort in those days. In 1857 a mission 
was begun at Edmonton. Chief Factor William Christie gave permission 
for the establishment of a chapel within the walls of the fort, and a house 
for the use of the missionary. One of the priests either of St. Albert or 
Lac St. Anne were in charge until 1865, when a school was built and 
Father Scollen took charge. Eleven years later (1876) the chapel was 
removed outside of the fort. Mr. Malcolm Groat, ex-employee of the 
Hudson's Bay Company, donated nine acres in what has been since known 
to the people of Edmonton as the "Groat Estate." Here another chapel 
was built from the materials of the old chapel. Rev. Father Blanchet 
was put in charge, but resided at St. Albert. In 1883 a new chapel was 
built on the present site of St. Joachim's Church, and Father Grandin, a 
nephew of the bishop, became the parish priest. He remained until 1890, 
and was followed by Father Fauquet, who was succeeded by Father La- 
combe. The good father longed to go back to his hermitage at Pincher 
Creek, and gladly gave up his charge at St. Joachim's to his old friend. 
Father Leduc. During Leduc's pastorate the present St. Joachim's Church 
was erected. Father Jan, who had assisted Father Leduc for a number 
of years, succeeded to the charge in 1904. Then followed Fathers Hetu 
and Therien, 1906; Father Naessens, 1907; Fathers Lemarchand, Merer 
and Tavernier. 

The congregation of the Faithful Companions of Jesus founded a 
boarding school beside the mission in 1888 and in 1895 the Grey Nuns 
established a hospital, the nucleus of the splendid hospital on Victoria 
Avenue today. They were followed in 1901 by the Sisters of Mercy of 
the Misericordia Hospital. 

The original parish of St. Joachim's has been divided several times 
as Edmonton increased in area and population. The first parish was 
the Immaculate Conception organized in 1905 by Father Hetu ; then 
Sacred Heart to accommodate the English speaking parishioners of the 


Immaculate Conception, in 1911. A new church was built for the purpose 
in 1913. It is interesting to observe that Father Roque, incumbent of 
the Immaculate Conception, was the first secular priest in Edmonton. 
The parish of St. Anthony (Strathcona) was founded in 1895, and served 
from St. Joachim's until 1901, when it became independent. Priests in 
charge have been Father Nordmann, 1901-1905; Father McQuaid, 1906; 
Father Jan again, 1907; Father McQuaid 1908-1911; Father Lemarchand, 
1912-1914; Father Torquinet. 

St. Francis of Assisi: — In 1909 the Franciscan Fathers established a 
mission at North Edmonton, the industrial portion of the city. The pre- 
vious year they had come to Our Lady of Lourdes at Lamoureux, opposite 
Fort Saskatchewan, but decided to locate at North Edmonton. Here 
their monastery has been built. Father Berchmans was the first superior. 
Father Xavier-Marie followed Father Berchmans in 1911. By 1914 the 
parish had grown so that it became necessary to divide it, one for the 
French speaking Catholics, the other for the English speaking and other 

Other parishes in the City of Edmonton manned by priests of the 
Sacred Heart of Jesus, assisted by the Ursuline Nuns, are: St. Edmund 
(Calder), St. Francis Xaverius, under the Society of Jesus, with a col- 
lege founded in 1912, Father Hudon, Society of Jesus, principal; and 
Holy Rosary (Polish). 

Mission at Lac La Biche: — This point had been visited by Father Thi- 
bault in 1844, Father Bourassa in 1851, by Bishop Tache in 1852 and 
Father Lacombe, but it was not founded as a permanent mission until 
1853. Here Father Remas took up his residence that year. He was 
visited by Father Vegreville next year, and was sent to Lac St. Anne 
in 1855. Fathers Tissot and Maisonneuve, who then took charge, put the 
mission on a permanent footing. They opened a road from Fort Pitt to 
Lac La Biche in 1856, and brought in supplies by ox-carts, raised barley 
and potatoes, making the place self-sustaining and a source of supply 
for other missions of the North. Next year several buildings were erect- 
ed under the supervision of Brother Bowes, one of the most famous of 
the Oblate Brothers, and who built many missions in the North-West 
during his lifetime. They burned limestone and built stone buildings. 

In 1862 a colony of nuns was established at Lac La Biche, with Sister 
Gunette as superior. The Fathers built a small mill and the Sisters 
made bread for the mission. 

In 1875 Bishop Faraud established his episcopal palace at Lac La 
Biche. Father Vegreville was priest in charge of the mission. Two years 
later the mission was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Vicar Apos- 
tolic of Athabaska and Mackenzie because of its advantages as a base of 
supplies. When Bishop Faraud took up his residence at Fort Providence 
in 1889, the mission, which had long rivalled St. Albert, lost much of its 
importance and became an outpost of half-breed settlement. In 1898 the 


Sisters moved to Saddle Lake, though in 1904 Father Grandin, then in 
charge, succeeded in establishing another community of Sisters at the 

Calgarij {Our Lady of Peace) : — Alexis Cardinal, Father Lacombe's 
famous and intrepid guide, built a house on the Elbow River, some twenty- 
five miles above the junction of the Bow and Elbow rivers in 1872. Next 
year he gave the house to Fathers Scollen and Fourmond, and in 1874 
a larger house was built. This was the beginning of the parish. When 
the North West Mounted Police established a police post at the junction of 
the Bow and Elbow, the two priests moved to the vicinity of the police 
barracks and built a chapel there in 1877. Father Doucet was the first 
priest in charge. In the spring of 1881 Bishop Grandin visited the mis- 
sion while on an episcopal tour to the Blackfeet tribes of Southern Al- 
berta. In 1883 Fathers Lacombe and Doucet filed on two quarter-sections 
within the City of Calgary, which were eventually acquired by the Church. 
In 1885 twelve Companions of Jesus arrived (July 26th), Fathers Leduc 
and Andre in charge, visiting Gleichen, Pincher Creek and other posts 
around. Beginning was made on a stone church, Our Lady of Peace, 
under Father Leduc, and it was opened in 1889. The Grey Nuns of 
Montreal established Holy Cross Hospital in 1891. As the city grew 
other churches and parishes sprang up — Sacred Heart in West Calgary, 
St. Anne's in East Calgary, and the Ruthenian Parish of St. Stephen's 
in 1911, St. Joseph's, 1915, as well as several separate schools, and St. 
Mary's high school for boys. The Ursuline Nuns, chiefly devoted to nurs- 
ing and education of girls, erected a foundation of the order in Calgary 
in 1921. 


After the Indian tribes had taken treaty and were placed on their 
several reservations, it became comparatively easy to establish missions 
thereon — much easier than when the missionaries were compelled to fol- 
low the tribes in their nomadic life on the plains. The Roman Catholic 
Church showed remarkable energy in establishing missions at nearly all 
the reservations, though it should be borne in mind that both the Meth- 
odist and Anglican Churches have also carried on a splendid work on the 

It is a significant fact that though the Indians of the North-West 
have been described as savages by almost every writer of the last century 
who traveled in this territory, the missionaries of every denomina- 
tion have been invariably treated with kindness and respect by the na- 
tives. In the long history of Western missions only four missionaries 
have suffered death from the hands of the Indians — Father Aulneau at 
kjt. Charles, 1736 ; Father Darveau at Lake Winnipegosis, 1844, and Fath- 
ers Faford and Marchand in 1885 at Frog Lake. To this list may be added 
the name of Brother Alexis Raynard, O.M.I., the factotum of Northern 


missions, who was murdered at House River in the summer of 1875 by 
an Iroquois companion. The outrage at Frog Lake was the work of non- 
treaty nomads, incited by Riel's emissaries. 

In 1882 Father Faford established a fine mission at Frog Lake, where 
a large number of Indians were settled. At Onion Lake, another reserve 
a few miles away, plans were in progress for a mission in the spring of 
1885 by Fathers Merer and Marchand. But the rebellion intervened 
and Faford, Marchand and seven other whites were murdered by 
Big Bear's band, and the buildings destroyed by fire (April 2, 1885). 
In 1886 Father Merer was sent to rebuild Onion Lake mission. After 
the completion of a fine church in 1871 a solemn service was held by 
Bishop Grandin on September 15th, in connection with the burial of the 
martyred priests — Faford and Marchand. Their remains were borne 
from their temporary resting place at Frog Lake to the vault of the 
chapel at Onion Lake. A school was opened on the reserve and put in 
charge of the Reverend Sisters of the Assumption. The first nuns arrived 
with Bishop Grandin, 8th of September, 1891. Since that period, until 
the present, there has been naturally many changes. The mission has 
been one of the most successful in the Province. An excellent boarding 
school is maintained and attended by 75 children. 

After the unhappy crisis of 1885 the Indian Department gathered the 
Indians at Victoria (near Pakan), and south of the Saskatchewan, prin- 
cipally around Whitford Lake (then Egg Lake) and placed them on the 
reserve at Saddle Lake — near Whitefish Lake and Good Fish Lake re- 
serves. These Indians were under Chief Pakan, an ardent Protestant, 
but to minister to the Catholic members of the tribe Father Merer estab- 
lished a mission here in 1888, that has flourished ever since. It is said 
that the last pagan Indian was baptized by Father Leduc on this reserve 
in 1897. He was the Indian who unintentionally shot Chief Sweet Grass 
in 1876. In 1898 the boarding school at Lac La Biche was, on the advice 
of the Indian Department, transferred to Saddle Lake, where it is still 
carried on. Father Baiter who took charge in 1906 published for many 
years a small monthly journal, "The Sacred Heart" in Cree, using the 
syllabic characters. 


Duhamel: — Some of the Catholic missions have been established espe- 
cially for the benefit of the half-breeds, as most of these people in the 
West belong to this church. Such were Duhamel and St. Paul de Metis. 
In the late seventies, a number of half-breed families settled on the banks 
of Battle River, about thirty miles east of the present City of Wetaskiwin. 
This was known as the Selvais or the Laboucan settlement. A special sur- 
vey was made in 1883, and the plan of river lots, so popular with the half- 
breed settler, was adopted. As a mission Duhamel dates from 1881, when 


it was first visited by Father Beillevaire. The founding of the mission 
and the introduction of the river lot surveys attracted a considerable 
number of half-breeds. In the summer of 1883 a priests' house and church 
were erected and the place named after Archbishop Duhamel of Ottawa. 
By 1900 a school was added to the establishment. Though a small parish 
still exists under Father Beillevaire, through the advance of settlement, 
the half-breeds have gone elsewhere. The country has been opened up by 
various classes of new settlers. The opening of the country by railways 
took away the favorite vocation of the half-breed, freighting, and the old 
mission now consists of immigrants of various nationalities. 

St. Paul de Metis: — The mission at St. Paul was the idea of Father 
Lacombe, who loved the Metis or half-breeds and understood their weak- 
nesses and the dangers they would be subjected to by the settlement of 
the country by white men. The good Father conceived the plan of gather- 
ing the half-breeds into one settlement as far from the path of settle- 
ment as possible and placing them under the paternal care of the Oblate 
Fathers. In cooperation with the Department of the Interior four town- 
ships were secured under a grant of twenty-one years to the episcopal 
corporations of St. Albert, St. Boniface and Prince Albert, and a plan 
worked out for the redemption of the half-breeds. Father Lacombe, with 
the assistance of Father Therien, chose a beautiful tract of country lying 
between the North Saskatchewan River and Cold Lake. It was surveyed 
in 1896 and Father Therien sent by Bishop Grandin to lay the founda- 
tions of the half-breed colony. The first harvest was reaped in 1897. The 
flour and sawmill at Lac la Biche was removed to St. Paul. A school was 
opened that year, and two years later the Sisters of the Assumption, who 
already had a convent at Onion Lake, arrived and took charge of the day 
school. A boarding school was erected to accommodate one hundred, for 
children who lived too far from the mission to attend day school. Mean- 
while Father Therien visited the United States to acquaint the half-breeds 
in that country of the colony at St. Paul. As the work increased it be- 
came a heavy tax upon the resources of the Oblates, and applications 
were made to other orders. Father Lacombe went to Europe for this 
purpose, and applied to the "Salesians" and the Premonstratensian Fath- 
ers of the Abbey of Grimbergen, Belgium. The latter sent an agent, 
Father Van Wettin, to investigate the project, but after the report the 
Premonstratensian Fathers refused to take over the mission. Resort 
was had to the charity of the parishes of Quebec. A new church 104 
feet by 42 feet with a sacristy 42 feet by 22 feet was built in 1904, The 
colony suffered a severe blow in 1905 (Jan. 15th) when the boarding 
school was burned to the ground. But scarcely had new buildings been 
erected when a notable transformation of the country began. There is 
no place in the North-West that is immune from the invasions of the 
ubiquitous settler. By 1908 settlers were filling up the vacant lands 
around the Half-breed Reservation. It was apparent the scheme as orig- 


inally planned in segregating the half-breeds in an isolated colony was 
doomed. It was therefore resolved to bring in a selected class of settlers 
and Rev. J. A. Ouellette, parish priest of Beaumont, was appointed col- 
onization agent for this work, assisted by Father Therien. As settlers 
poured into the districts, new parishes were formed with St. Paul as a 
centre — St. Vincent, Bonnyville, St. Louis. In 1909 the reserve was 
thrown open for homesteading and the unique experiment was a thing 
of the past. 

Similar missions are carried on at Heart Lake, Cold Lake, 1874, 
Riviere Qui Barre, 1877, Hobbema (formerly Bear Hills), 1881, Stony 
Plain, 1885. In 1874 Emile Joseph Legal, a professor of mathematics 
from Nantes, was ordained to the priesthood. He came to Canada in 1881 
and was appointed to missions among the Blackfeet, especially the Bloods 
and Peigans. Here he labored for sixteen years until he was appointed 
coadjutor to Bishop Grandin in 1897. He carried on successfully the 
work begun by Father Lacombe, a quarter of a century before. 

Father Lacombe is the great Roman Catholic missionary of the Black- 
feet — ^the black-robed voyageur of the plains. He visited them as early 
as 1857, with his faithful Alexis, and again in 1859. After several years 
among the Crees he again returned to the Blackfeet in 1871, intending 
to devote himself entirely to winning this warlike nation over to Chris- 
tianity. Bishop Grandin, however, had other plans for Father Lacombe 
which kept him from his beloved mission until 1881, when he returned 
and spent several years among them, rendering valuable service in paci- 
fying Blackfeet tribes during the building of the Canadian Pacific Rail- 
way and the Rebellion of 1885. 


A list of the most important French-Canadian parishes and missions 
established in Alberta, with appropriate notes concerning each, is given 
as follows : 

Notre Dame de Lourdes (Lamoureux, P. O.), founded in 1875; chapel 
built by Father Blanchet, 1877 ; Father Dorais in charge from 1891-1908, 
the year of his death ; present church completed 1903 ; Father Berch- 
mans, 1909; Father Pilon, 1909-1912; Father Normandeau, 1912-1914. 

St. Emerence, Riviere Qui Barre, founded 1893. 

St. Jean Baptiste, Morinville ; founded by Abbe Morin, 1891. Father 
Harnois, first parish priest, 1892. Daughters of Jesus from Kermaria, 
Brittany, established a convent in 1903 ; present beautiful church dedi- 
cated by Bishop Legal, March, 1908. 

St. Vital, Beaumont; founded 1892 by Abbe Morin. First priest, 
Father Perrault, O.M.I., 1893; Father Poitras, 1894-1896; Father Beau- 
parlant, 1897; Father Ethier, 1898-1902; Father Bouchard, 1902-1905; 
Father Ouellette, 1905-1907. 


Other parishes: St. Pierre, Villeneuve, 1900; St. Emile, Legal, 1899, 
named after the Bishop of St. Albert; Spruce Grove and Egg Lake, 1900; 
Sion, 1911; Brosseaii, 1905; Bonnyville, named after Father Bonny, the 
first priest, 1910. 

When the railway was built from Edmonton to Calgary and south 
to Macleod, in 1891 and 1892, Catholic churches sprang up in every im- 
portant town. The same happened when the Canadian Northern was 
built into Edmonton in 1905; and when the Grand Trunk Pacific was 
built in 1910. The names of the parishes may be designated by the 
names of the various towns and villages along these lines. These par- 
ishes are composed of all nationalities of the Catholic faith, differing in 
this respect from those described in the remainder of this chapter on the 
Catholic Church in Alberta. 


The Galicians, Bukowinians, Rumanians and other foreign national- 
ities from Central Europe who settled in Alberta from 1892 to the end 
of the century belonged to three great categories of religious denomina- 
tions : Roman Catholics, Greek Ruthenian Catholics or Uniates and Green 
Orthodox. The Catholics of these groups had no resident priest among 
them until 1898. They had been visited frequently by Fathers Dorais, 
from Lamoureux, and Nordmann, who could speak German. In 1900 a 
Polish priest. Father Olczewski, was ordained by Bishop Grandin and 
commissioned to carry on missionary work among these nationalities, 
situated principally in the country East of Edmonton, and South of the 
Saskatchewan River. He established his headquarters at a point since 
called Krakow, where he built a church in 1907. Under his auspices mis- 
sions were founded, 1904, at Skaro, Beaver Lake, on the Little Vermilion 
River, between Edmonton and Athabasca. At Skaro some Polish young 
ladies established a convent in 1904, and were consecrated by Bishop 
Legal under the name of "Auxiliaries of Apostolate." Later the sister- 
hood extended its work to Krakow and Edmonton. 

Father Olczewski was soon joined by Fathers Albert and William 
Kulawy, both Oblates, and sent to Canada to look after the welfare of 
Ruthenian and Polish missions, and in 1903 a third brother. Father Paul 
Kulawy, was sent to reside at St. Albert. Next year he established a 
parish for these nationalities at Round Hill and built a church there, 
which was dedicated by Bishop Legal in July, 1907. 

A Ruthenian mission was established at Rabbit Hills, eighteen miles 
southwest of Edmonton, in 1903. The church was dedicated with beau- 
tiful and pious demonstrations on the feast of Corpus Christi, June 2, 
1904. A procession escorted Bishop Legal with banners, ikons and lighted 
tapers to the church through arches of foliage and flags of the national 
colors of Galicia — yellow and blue. 


St. John Nepomuck, another mission of this nationality, was estab- 
lished in a Polish community fifteen miles North of Daysland by Father 
Kulawy in 1909. 


Among the foreign nationalities of Alberta mentioned above, reference 
has been made to the Galicians of the Greek Ruthenian rite or Uniates. 
They submit to the jurisdiction of the Pope of Rome. The liturgy of 
their church is not in the Greek but in the Ruthenian language. In Galicia 
there is a separate Ruthenian hierarchy distinct from the Latin hierarchy 
in the same territory, with jurisdiction only over the members of its 
own rite. 

Before these people in Alberta had been visited by Bishop Legal or 
any of the priests under his jurisdiction, some of the Galician settlers 
secured a visit from two priests of the Greek Orthodox Church who tried 
to induce the Greek Catholics to forsake their mother church. This was 
in 1897. In September of the same year. Father Demytrow, a Uniate 
priest, visited the district and was granted the right by Bishop Legal 
to exercise his priestly ministry among the Galician people. Steps were 
taken at once to secure priests of the Greek Ruthenian rite through the 
Propaganda at Rome. In the spring of 1898 the Metropolitan of Galicia 
sent Father Tymkiewitcz to Alberta. This young priest seems to have 
been of the class that favored soft beds and good meals, for in less than 
six months he left the Province for the United States. Before he left he 
succeeded in inducing Bishop Grandin to vest the church property at 
Star in a committee of three, known as trustees or syndics of the mission. 
The trust created by this act gave rise to one of the most protracted and 
memorable lawsuits in the history of the courts of Alberta — the famous 
Star Church lawsuit (Zacklinski vs. Polishie, 1908 A. C. 65). After the 
departure of Father Tymkiewitcz, Father Zacklinski took his place in 
1900. In order to obtain a regular supply of priests for the Galician 
settlements. Father Lacombe visited Vienna and Lemberg in 1900. In 
response to this appeal the Archbishop of Lemberg sent Father Basil 
Zoldak to Alberta to survey the situation. He arrived in Edmonton in 
1902 (February 15th), and returned to Galicia in May, accompanied by 
Father Jan, to secure more priests. Accordingly three Basilian Fathers, 
a lay brother and four sisters, "Servants of Mary," were welcomed at 
Edmonton in October of that year. 

The three priests, Fathers Filas, Dydyk and Strozky, established new 
missions at Monaster, Star, Edmonton, Rabbit Hill, and went on period- 
ical visits to Lethbridge and the Crow's Nest Pass. Father Filas was 
appointed to the vacant episcopate of Stanislow in Galicia in 1906, and 
Father Dydyk became the Superior of Ruthenian missions in Alberta. 
He was later transferred to Winnipeg. He was succeeded by Fathers Fili- 


pow and Tymocko, with headquarters at Mundare. Father Tymocko died 
in 1909. His place was taken by Father Kryzanowski, In 1910 a fine 
church, of Muscovite style, was built at Mundare, the first of all the 
Ruthenian churches in Alberta. In the same year this church was dedi- 
cated by the Metropolitan of Lemberg, who had come to Canada and the 
North-West and spent some time in the Galician settlements. Three 
years later (1913) Bishop Budka was appointed Bishop of the Greek 
Ruthenian Rite, with jurisdiction over all Ruthenian Catholics in Canada. 

CHURCH HISTORY— (Continued). 


In order to understand the growth of Anglican missions in Alberta it 
will be necessary to consider briefly the whole field of Western Canada 
prior to the founding of the first mission or parish in Alberta. The first 
Anglican church was established at Red River by the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany. In 1820 Rev. John West was sent out from England as chaplain to 
the Selkirk settlers by the Company. Mr. West also offered his services 
to the Church Missionary Society founded a few years earlier in England 
(1799) to promote "missions in Africa and the East" among the heathen. 

The Society accepted the offer and granted one hundred pounds to 
support a mission and a school among' the Indians of Red River, and soon 
afterwards undertook the establishment of schools and missions through- 
out the North-West. From the Red River the work spread to the Saskat- 
chewan, the Athabaska, the Mackenzie and the Far North. 

One of the first things Rev. John West did was to found a school in 
connection with St. John's Church, the progenitor of St. Johns' College 
of today. West returned to England in 1823, and was succeeded by Rev. 
David Jones, who remained until 1839. He was followed by Rev. William 
Cochran, who came out to assist Mr. Jones in 1825. When Mr. Jones left 
Cochran had four parishes to look after. He was associated with the 
formation of St. Peter's settlement for the Indians. Rev. J. Smithurst was 
the next missionary to come from England. He arrived in 1839. Henry 
Budd, one of the Indian boys, induced by West to enter St. John's School, 
was ordained as a missionary in 1840, and was sent to open a mission 
among the Crees at Cumberland House. Here he was visited by Smith- 
hurst in 1842, the first Anglican white missionary to visit the Saskatche- 
wan. Rev. Abram Cowley came out in 1841 and began work at Fairford 
House, and later among the natives on Lake Manitoba. Next year Rev. 
James Hunter arrived from England and took charge of the mission at 
Cumberland House, or The Pas, and Henry Budd moved farther up the 
Saskatchewan to Nepowewin. 

Bishop Mountain of Montreal visited Red River in 1844 and confirmed 
846 candidates, white and native. Owing to the generosity of James Lieth, 
a Hudson's Bay factor, an endowment was established in 1849 to support a 
bishop in Rupert's Land, and on May 29th, of that year, Rev. David Ander- 



son was consecrated Bishop of Rupert's Land in Canterbury Cathedral. 
He arrived at Red River the same year. A year later Bishop Anderson 
ordained Henry Budd, who continued for a quarter of a century among 
his own people. With Bishop Anderson came Rev. John Chapman and 
Rev. Robert Hunt. Mr. Hunt was sent to superintend the work at Lac la 
Ronge, where Henry Settee, a companion of Rev. Henry Budd, and a grad- 
uate of St. John's College, was conducting a mission. When Settee was a 
very small child his father carried him in his arms to Rev. John West to 
train him for the service of the church. Here we may note that Charles 
Pratt and John Hope, natives, also graduated in the early days from St. 
John's College and for many years carried on missionary work on behalf 
of the Anglican Church among the natives of Red River and the Saskatch- 

Under Bishop Anderson missionary work developed rapidly and sev- 
eral new men came out from England. During the next fifteen years there 
arrived in rapid succession John Horden, W. W. Kirkby, A. E. Watkins, 
W. Stagg, H. T. T. Smith and R. Phair. Walter Mason, a Wesleyan mis- 
sionary, who came to the West with James Evans in 1840, received Angli- 
can orders and joined the diocese in 1852. From St. John's College a 
number of native missionaries were ordained, namely : Robert McDonald, 
whose pathetic appeal brought the great Bompas to the wilds of the Mac- 
kenzie and the Yukon ; Thomas Vincent, Thomas Cook, J. V. McKay, James 
Settee, H. Cochrane, Henry Budd Jr., Baptiste Spence and G. Brace. 

In the year 1859 Archdeacon Hunter went to Fort Simpson and the 
following year W. W. Kirkby went as far as Fort Good Hope, where he 
was joined by Rev. Robt. Macdonald, and continued to Fort McPherson, 
La Pierre's House and to Fort Yukon. Meanwhile missions had been 
established at Touchwood Hills in 1857, under Charles Pratt, an Indian 
catechist, and at Fort Ellice. 

Bishop Anderson resigned in 1864 and returned to England. Next 
year two men arrived in the West whose labors and achievements will for 
all time redound to the glory of the Anglican Church in Canada. These 
were Rev. Robert Machray and Rev. William Carpenter Bompas. Mach- 
ray was a great church statesman, Bompas an incomparable missionary. 
For forty years Machray led his people with wisdom and success. He 
created synodical government in his diocese and in his ecclestiastical prov- 
ince. He was largely instrumental in the formation of the General Synod 
for the Church of England in Canada, and became the first Primate. He 
was the faithful shepherd of his flock, the true ''Father in God" to his 
clergy, the kind, but strict educator of youth, the trusted adviser of the 
civil power, the Joshua of the Church in the Great Lone Land. 

For over forty years Bompas devoted his life to the Indians and Eski- 
mos of the Athabaska, Mackenzie and the Yukon. As new dioceses were 
formed, the indefatigable missionary bishop moved into the new field, ever 
breaking new ground and blazing fresh trails in the Far North. Like 

Mcdonald hotel, edmonton 



Faraud and Grollier, his inveterate antagonists for the spiritual conquest 
of the natives of the North, he earned the title Pope Leo gave to the 
Oblates— "The Martyrs of the Cold." 

Rev. Robert Machray succeeded Bishop Anderson as the second bishop 
of Rupert's Land. He was consecrated in Canterbury June 24, 1865, and 
next day ordained Rev. William Carpenter Bompas, who had decided to 
come out to the Mackenzie District in response to a letter from Robert 
Macdonald, missionary to the Locheux Indians. In the letter Macdonald 
said he was dying and pleaded for some one to take his place. Bishop 
Anderson read the letter at the Church Missionary Society's anniversary 
service at St. Bride's Church May 1st of that year. "Shall no one come 
forward," cried the bishop, "to take up the standard of the Lord and 
occupy the ground?" After the service Bompas walked into the vestry and 
offered to go at once. He reached Fort Simpson on Christmas Eve, 1864, 
where he was welcomed by Mr. W. W. Kirkby, in charge of that mission, 
and thus began that career that shall long remain as a shining and inspir- 
ing example of heroic service and true missionary devotion. 

Under Bishop Machray the missions of the Anglican Church grew 
rapidly, and it became necessary in 1872 to organize three dioceses within 
the original diocese of Rupert's Land — Moosonee under Bishop Horden, 
episcopal seat. Moose Factory; Saskatchewan under Bishop McLean, epis- 
copal seat, Prince Albert; Athabaska, under Bishop Bompas, episcopal 
seat. Fort Simpson. The work in the dioceses of Athabaska and Moos- 
onee, since it was wholly among Indians and Eskimos, was supported by 
the Church Missionary Society. In the diocese of Saskatchewan it was 
mainly under the protection of the Society for the Propagation of the 
Gospel and the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge. 

Bishop Bompas held his first diocesan synod September 4, 1876, at 
Fort Simpson. His clergy numbered only three — Archdeacon McDonald, 
A. Garrioch, both natives of the country, and Rev. W. D. Reeve, his single 
English comrade. In addition he had four active schoolmasters. He 
divided his diocese into four great divisions, viz. : 

(a) Locheux Mission, under McDonald. 

(b) McKenzie River Mission, under Reeve. 

(c) Athabaska and Peace River, under Garrioch. 

(d) Great Slave Lake Mission, under the schoolmasters. 

By 1882 there were nine stations, viz. : Fort Simpson, Fort Vermilion, 
Dunvegan, Fort Rae, Fort Resolution, Fort Chipewyan, Fort Norman, 
Fort McPherson and Rampart House on the Porcupine River in the Yukon. 

In 1884 the diocese of Athabaska River was subdivided ; the southern 
portion traversed by the Athabaska and Peace rivers became the diocese 
of Athabaska, under Bishop Young. The northern portion, extending from 
the 60th parallel of latitude to the Arctic Ocean became the diocese of 
Mackenzie River, Bishop Bompas electing of his own accord to become 
Bisho'^ of Mackenzie River. When this diocese was divided into two in 


1891, Bompas again chose the frontier diocese of Selkirk (since named 
the diocese of Yukon), leaving the Mackenzie River under Bishop Reeve. 
He did heroic service among the miners of the Yukon in the stirring days 
of the gold rush to that district. In 1905 the exacting labors of forty 
years compelled him to resign and on June 9, 1906, the "apostle of the 
North," as he was familiarly known, died at Carcross. He was succeeded 
by Bishop Stringer, who had come to the diocese in 1892, and had served 
several years at Herschell Island, the most northerly mission in the British 

Bishop Reeve retired from the See of Mackenzie River in 1907. But it 
was not until six years later that Bishop Lucas, a Church Missionary So- 
ciety missionary of the Far North, could be elected because there was no 
Endowment Fund for the maintenance of the bishopric. The work in this 
diocese is mostly among Indians — Chipewyan, Slavi, Mountain, Tukudh, 
Eskimos. A boarding school has been carried on at Hay River for a num- 
ber of years. Encouraging work is being conducted among the Eskimos 
at Aklavik and along the Arctic Coast to Coronation Gulf. Services are 
held more or less regularly at all the forts along the Mackenzie for the 
white settlers and the Indians. 

The whole Bible, Prayer Book and Hymn Book have been translated 
into the Tukudh language, while the Slavi Indians have the New Testa- 
ment and Prayer Book. Work is in progress in translating these works in 
the Eskimo language. 

In the Diocese of Athabaska Bishop Young was succeeded by Bishop 
Holmes in 1903, who continued until 1912, when Bishop Robins, formerly 
Church Missionary Society Organizing Secretary, was elected. Indian 
missions (Beaver, Chipewyan and Slavi tribes) have been conducted at 
Lesser Slave Lake since 1886, at Whitefish Lake since 1891, and Wabasca 
since 1894. For a number of years a mission was conducted near Peace 
River, in the Shaftesbury settlement, under Rev. T. Brick, and after- 
wards under Rev. Murdock Johnston and Rev. Robert Holmes. Mr. Johns- 
ton began the first Anglican services at Grand Prairie. In October, 1909, 
Rev. J. W. Moxhay became the first rector of Grand Prairie. 

Following this summary of Anglican missions in Northern Alberta and 
the Far North, let us turn to the southern part of Alberta and review 
the development there. The Diocese of Saskatchewan, with its centre at 
Prince Albert, stretched eastward as far as Cumberland House, south- 
ward to the International Boundary, westward to the Rocky Mountains 
and northward to the watershed of the Athabaska River ; thus it comprised 
all of what is now Central and Southern Alberta. 

Owing to the rapid influx of settlers following the construction of the 
Canadian Pacific Railway into the territory west of Winnipeg, the diocese 
of Qu'Appelle was erected in 1884, comprising a part of the diocese of 
Rupert's Land, and a part of the diocese of Saskatchewan. The first 
bishop of the new diocese was Bishop Anson. Four years later the diocese 


of Calgary was formed, comprising the then provisional district of Alberta. 
Bishop McLean died in 1886 and was succeeded by Bishop Pinkham, who 
also became Bishop of the new diocese of Calgary, continuing to hold the 
two Sees until a sufficient sum was raised to provide an adequate endow- 
ment fund for the Bishop of Calgary. By 1902 the sum of $12,000 had 
been raised for this purpose, mostly in England through the Society for the 
Propagation of the Gospel, the Church Missionary Society, the Colonial 
Bishopric's Fund and the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowl- 
edge. On September 25, 1903, Bishop Pinkham resigned from the bishopric 
of Saskatchewan and in October of the same year the Provincial Synod 
elected Rev. J. A. Newnham, Bishop of Saskatchewan. Previous to this 
appointment, the Bishops of Western Canada had been appointed by the 
Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishop Pinkham being the last to be so ap- 
pointed. But in 1902 the union of the whole of the Church of England in 
Canada was consummated and increased autonomy bestowed upon the 

The work of uniting the Church in Canada had been in progress for 
twelve years. In 1890 a conference was held in Winnipeg, at which a basis 
of union was adopted. A General Synod was formed in 1893. From this 
date until 1902 time was spent in securing the consent of the Diocesan and 
Provincial Synods. In 1902 the union was confirmed by the General 
Synod of Canada. At the same time the Missionary Society of the Church 
of England in Canada was formed to carry on work in Canada analogous 
to the work of the great English Societies referred to above. This Society 
has given strong support to the Church of England in Alberta. 

From 1902 to 1913 were years of great prosperity and increase in 
population in Alberta. The Diocese of Calgary, comprising an area of 
110,000 square miles became too large, and in August, 1913, it was divided 
by the Provincial Synod of Rupert's Land, the northern portion, that North 
of township 42, forming the Diocese of Edmonton. The Right Reverend 
Henry Allan Gray, elected by the clergy of the diocese, consecrated March 
25, 1914, became the first Bishop of Edmonton. 

We are now in a position to give details of the progress of the Anglican 
Church in Alberta — in the dioceses of Calgary and Edmonton. 

In. 1875 Rev. Canon Newton was sent to Edmonton by the Society for 
the Propagation of the Gospel. He established the first Anglican Mission 
in Edmonton and labored in the Saskatchewan for twenty years among 
the white settlers, going as far south as Red Deer, and including Bear 
Lake, Sturgeon and Fort Saskatchewan in his regular missionary visits. 

The first parish of the Anglican Church in Alberta was established at 
Edmonton in 1876. That year Bishop McLean visited Edmonton and ar- 
ranged for the building of a church. Mr. Malcolm Groat gave nine acres 
west of the Hudson's Bay Reserve and in 1877 the church was built. This 
was All Saints Parish. In 1890 a new building was erected in another 
part of the parish, and again in 1895 the site now occupied by All Saints 


Pro-cathedral was chosen. The first deacon of the parish was Rev. Charles 
Cunningham, 1891-1893 ; then Rev. Alfred Stunden, 1893-1897. Rev. Henry 
Allan Gray, now the beloved Bishop of Edmonton was transferred from 
Holy Trinity, South Edmonton, in 1897 and took charge of the parish. In 
1909 Rev. G. H. Webb, who had spent some time as General Missionary for 
the Missionary Society for the Church of England in Canada in Alberta, 
was appointed associate pastor, and when Archdeacon Gray was raised to 
episcopal dignity Rev. Mr. Webb became Archdeacon and rector of the 
parish, and All Saints Church, a Pro-Cathedral. Archdeacon Webb re- 
signed in 1918, and was succeeded by the present rector, Rev. E. Pierce- 

In 1883 Rev. J. W. Tims, missionary to the Blackfeet at Blackfoot 
Crossing, began to hold services in Calgary at the request of the people of 
that place, until a regular missionary could be appointed. Next year, 
through the efforts of Bishop McLean, the Society for the Propagation of 
the Gospel sent out Rev. E. P. Smith, from Oxford, who arrived May 24, 
1884. He frequently visited Red Deer and Fish Creek and remained 
in the diocese until 1887, and was succeeded by Rev. A. F. W. Cooper. 
The mission at Lethbridge began in 1886, Rev. J. F. Pritchard, first incum- 
bent. Shortly afterward a mission was opened at Macleod under Rev. 
Ronald Hilton, and at the time of the first meeting of the diocese of Cal- 
gary, February, 1889, there were established additional missions to settlers 
at Pincher Creek and Banff. In 1889 Bishop Pinkham constituted the 
Rural Deaneries of Calgary under Rural Dean A. F. W. Cooper, and of 
Macleod, under Rural Dean J. F. Pritchard. When the latter left the 
diocese. Rev. Ronald Hilton was appointed Rural Dean of Macleod. 
Through gifts of the Colonial and Continental Missionary Society in Eng- 
land missions were opened at High River and Sheep Creek in 1891, and 
the next year Rev. H. B. Brashier, of Toronto, started a permanent mis- 
sion at Red Deer. New missions sprang up along the Calgary and Edmon- 
ton Railway in the principal towns — Innisfail, Olds, Bowden, Lacombe, 
South Edmonton — with money supplied largely by the Society for the Pro- 
motion of Christian Knowledge, In the early nineties a mission was opened 
at Beaver Lake, east of Edmonton, and soon after at Fort Saskatchewan, 
Rev. G. C. d'Easum in charge, where he remained for over twenty years. 
By the middle of 1894 the boundaries of twenty parishes had been fixed. 
The membership of the parishes and missions of the diocese was about 
2,000, ministered to by 15 clergy. Two years later (1896) the clergy in 
the diocese numbered 23. In 1894 the Deanery of Edmonton was formed 
comprising all of the diocese north of township 37. Rev. Alfred Stunden 
was appointed the first rural dean. 

In 1895 Bishop Pinkham divided the diocese into two Archdeaconries, 
appointing Dean Cooper and Rev. J. W. Tims Archdeacons of the White 
and Indian work respectively. 

These were years of great difficulty in the matter of financing the 


schemes of the diocese. Only three of the parishes were self-supporting — 
Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge. The English societies which were 
contributing the greater part of the burden of maintaining missions in the 
dioceses of the North-West began to retrench gradually after the con- 
solidation of the Church of England in Canada. The Society for the prop- 
agation of the Gospel was paying annually at this time nearly $45,000 
to the Canadian dioceses. In the diocese of Calgary this Society was con- 
tributing more than half of the total of the diocesan funds. In 1896 the 
Society gave notice of a reduction of 10 per cent and that after the year 
1900 it desired to be relieved of all pecuniary responsibility in Canada, and 
pointed out that it was the duty of the older dioceses of Canada to support 
the younger dioceses of the Dominion. Finally, however, the bishops of 
the Western dioceses prevailed upon the Society for the Propagation of the 
Gospel in 1902 to suspend its policy of reduction in view of the unprece- 
dented increase in immigration from the Old Country to the West that fol- 
lowed the turn of the century, and in view of the danger of straining the 
loyalty of the adherents of the Anglican Church. Accordingly a grant of 
nearly $40,000 was made that year to be spent in the ecclesiastical province 
of Rupert's Land. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the founding of 
the Society, a bi-century fund was raised, 1,800 pounds sterling of which 
was paid to the Diocese of Calgary, spread over a period of five years. 

The conditions in Western Canada at this time prompted energetic 
action on the part of the Colonial and Continental Society. This Society 
has done for the white settlers what the Church Missionary Society has 
done for the Indians. It has supported lonely missionaries in remote 
settlements, camps, mines and fisheries. But its greatest work in Canada 
has been its success in sustaining the Barr Colony, established in 1903, 
This Colony lies within the civil Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, 
but within the diocese of Saskatchewan. Rev. George E. Lloyd, now Bishop 
Lloyd of the Diocese of Saskatchewan since 1922, and principal of Emman- 
uel College, Saskatoon, under the aegis of this Society, led the colonists 
through many trials and misfortunes. The work of the Society in this 
field will rank in days to come as one of the most striking ventures of faith 
and achievement in the history of any church in Canada. In one summer 
it sent out sixty missionaries in one ship, built sixty churches, popularly 
called "Canterbury Cathedrals," and sixty parsonages, similarly described 
as "Lambeth Palaces." 

The threat of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel was not 
without value to the dioceses of the West, for in 1902 the people of the 
diocese of Calgary raised $14,000 of the $19,500 spent that year in the 
diocese. The consummation of the consolidation of the Church of England 
in Canada this year aroused the interest of the dioceses of Eastern Canada 
and especially of the Women's Auxiliaries, which was reflected in increased 
beneficence toward the poorer missions of the West. 

The Deanery of Red Deer was formed in 1902, comprising that portion 


of Central Alberta between townships 30 and 44, with Rev. J. Hinchcliffe, 
rural dean. 

In November, 1905, a general missionary, Rev. G. H. Webb, was ap- 
pointed for the Missionary Society of the Church of England in Canada in 
the diocese. The demands taxed the financial resources of growing par- 
ishes. The growth of the church is clearly indicated by comparing the 
statistics of 1906 and 1907, the latter year being the one of the largest 
immigration previous to this time. The number of parishes and missions 
increased from twenty-three in 1906 to forty-one in 1907, and the number 
of congregations from seventy-nine to one hundred and fifty-nine in the 
same time. 

St. Hilda's Ladies College, a girls' boarding school, was erected in 
Calgary in 1905, and opened in September of that year, and is still in 

In 1908 Bishop Pinkham College was founded to provide a Boys' School 
on the model of the English schools, or those of Eastern Canada, and in 
time to provide a divinity school for the training of the young men of the 
diocese for the clergy of the Anglican Church. 

The year 1910 was a memorable one in the history of the Church of 
England in Western Canada, because of the appeal of the Archbishops of 
Canterbury and York to the Church and people of England to send fifty 
of the best clergy, annually for ten years, for the expansion of the Church 
of England in Western Canada. At the same time the Archbishops' West- 
ern Canada Fund was organized to maintain them. In May of that year 
the advance guard of this Army of the Cross arrived under Rev. W. G. 
Boyd, Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and established head- 
quarters at Edmonton, and founded the Edmonton Mission of the Arch- 
bishops' Fund (St. Faith's). Another group of these workers established 
in Southern Alberta, under Rev. Canon Mowat, with a central mission 
house in Lethbridge. 

Under the Archbishops' Alberta Mission four parishes were established 
in the City of Edmonton and six sites purchased and handed over to the 
Synod of the Diocese of Edmonton. Stations were opened at Wabamun, 
Stony Plain, Entwistle, Edson, Lac la Nonne, Paddle River, Clyde, and at 
several other points west and north of Edmonton. In the southern part 
of the Province, stations were opened at Cardston, Boundary Creek, War- 
ner, Coutts, Hazelmere, Stand Off. In 1913 Archbishops' Western Canada 
Fund missions were started in the Diocese of Athabaska, under Rev. Hugh 
Speke, During ten years (1910-1920) over $900,000 was raised in Eng- 
land for the Archbishops' Western Canada Fund. Out of the total sum 
raised, it was the intention to give $50,000 to each of the three dioceses — 
Calgary, Edmonton ,and Qu'Appelle. But when the fund was closed, 
only 37,095 pounds sterling were available. At the celebration of the 
100th anniversary of the founding of the first Anglican mission in the 


West, held in Winnipeg in 1920, this sum was delivered in trust for the 
three dioceses. 

In 1910 the four deaneries of the diocese were cancelled, and the 
territory divided into seven deaneries, viz. : Calgary, under Rev. Canon 
Stocken; Edmonton, Rural Dean Boyd; Lethbridge, Rural Dean Murrell 
Wright ; Macleod, Rural Dean G. B. Hall ; Red Deer, Rural Dean W. White- 
head; High River, Rural Dean R. D. Stamer. The rural dean of Wetaski- 
win was not appointed until 1912, when Rev. W. W. Alexander was ap- 
pointed to the cflice. In the meantime Wetaskiwin was under the rural 
deanery of Edmonton. In 1913, the Archdeaconry of Calgary was divided, 
one portion forming the Archdeaconry of Red Beer, under Archdeacon A. 
J. B. Dewdney. 

The last meeting of the Diocese of Calgary before its division in 1913 
was held in July of that year. This was the thirteenth meeting of the 
synod, and is a convenient date to measure the growth of the Church of 
England in Alberta. When the first synod of this diocese convened on 
February 21, 1889, there were ten priests and one deacon in the whole 
diocese. At the last meeting of the synod of the old diocese in July, 1913, 
there were one hundred and forty-nine parishes, thirty-two of which were 
self-supporting, and although some of the parishes were vacant at the 
time there were ninety-four priests, eight deacons and thirty lay readers. 

The Diocese of Edmonton was incorporated by an Act of the Legisla- 
tive Assembly of Alberta in 1914. Under Bishop Gray the diocese, not- 
withstanding the crippling effects of the war, has made steady progress. 
With Edmonton, the capital and the University City of the Province, as 
che episcopal centre of the diocese, an opportunity has been presented of 
recruiting the young men of the University for the clergy and thus solv- 
ing one of the most diflficult problems of the church. In 1920 steps were 
taken by the synod to establish a divinity school, St. Aidan's College, in 
Edmonton, in affiliation with the University of Alberta, and a Divinity 
Students' Fund is being raised for this purpose. 


Indian missions appealed strongly to the leaders of the Church of Eng- 
land in the West. As soon as the tribes were settled on their respective re- 
serves in the Province, missions and schools were established among them. 
In the early seventies, James Settee, and Wm. Stagg, native missionaries, 
worked intermittently among the Blackfeet of Southern Alberta, and 
smce that time the Anglican Church has been particularly active among 
the Blackfeet-speaking people of Southern Alberta, leaving the Crees, in 
the North, to the Methodist and Roman Catholic Churches. 

In 1879 Rev. Geo. McKay, of Prince Albert, opened a mission at Fort 
Macleod among the Peigans. The next year (1880) Rev. Samuel Trivett 
opened a mission among the Bloods, and in 1882 he was joined by Rev. H. T. 


Bourne, who opened a mission at Red Crow's Camp. In 1883 Rev. J. W. 
Tims was sent from England to Blackfoot Crossing by the Church Mission- 
ary Society. He was joined in 1885 by Rev. H. W. G. Stocken, who came 
out on the invitation of Mr. Tims. A mission among the Sarcees was es- 
tablished in 1886 by Rev. R. Inkster, of Prince Albert. In the following 
year he was succeeded by Rev. H. W. G. Stocken. Other clergy who have 
been engaged in mission work on these Reserves have been : Rev. J. Hinch- 
cliffe, Rev. F. Swainson, Rev. A de B. Owen, Rev. C. P. Owen, Rev. S. J. 
Stocken, Rev. C. P. H. Owen, Rev. G. E. Gale, Rev. W. R. Haynes and 
Rev. S. Middleton. 

After mastering their language these devoted servants gave the Black- 
feet-speaking people the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, the Ten Command- 
ments, prayers for morning and evening, a dictionary, a grammar, the 
Gospel of St. Matthew, parts of St. John and other Gospels, and a number 
of hymns, printed in the Blackfoot language. This work was done mostly 
by Messrs. Tims and Stocken, assisted by Rev. J. Hinchcliffe and others. 
At first Roman characters were used, but Mr. Tims adapted the syllabic 
system, and provided a system that is now in general use among all tho 
tribes of the Blackfoot nation. The first sermon without the aid of an 
interpreter was preached in 1885 at the time of the Rebellion. 

The Anglican Blackfeet missions have been supported mainly by the 
Church Missionary Society and the Missionary Society of the Church of 
England in Canada. The Women's Auxiliary Societies of Ontario took a 
great interest in this work. The Women's Auxiliary of the Diocese of 
Toronto supported a woman missionary (Miss Perkes) at the Blackfoot 
Reserve; the Woman's Auxiliary of Huron, a lady missionary (Miss 
Busby) at the Blood Reserve; the Women's Auxiliary of Ontario a lady 
missionary (Miss Brown) at the Peigan Reserve. The Society for the Pro- 
motion of Christian Knowledge assisted these missions by printing the 
books in the Blackfoot languages necessary for the intelligent and effective 
conduct of the work. In 1892 the Methodist Church abandoned its mis- 
sion among the Bloods and the Anglican Church purchased the establish- 
ment for $1,000. 

Missionary work was supplemented by schools. In 1892 the Anglican 
Church maintained three day schools on the Blackfoot Reserve, three on 
the Blood Reserve, one on the Peigan Reserve and two on the Sarcee 

Day schools finally were proved to be impracticable for Indian children, 
and so boarding schools were established at each mission. Assistance was 
received from the Department of Indian Affairs for the maintenance of 
those schools, first, to the extent of rations of flour and beef for the chil- 
dren, and later changing this to a grant of $72 annually per child. Assist- 
ance was also given by the Government towards the cost of buildings 
erected from time to time for this purpose. 

The operation of these Indian schools became increasingly difficult. 


The Church Missionary Society, and the Missionary Society of the Church 
of England in Canada, gradually withdrew their financial support. To- 
ward the cost of the schools the Indian Department contributed about 60 
per cent, the Anglican Church about 15 per cent, leaving the balance to be 
carried as a deficit until in 1909 it totalled over $7,000. But the Depart- 
ment of Indian Affairs recognizing the character of the work done for 
the welfare of the Indians came to the rescue and paid $5,000 of the debt. 
This, with an increase in the per capita grant, and the increasing earning 
power of the Indian people saved the schools from extinction. But the 
difficulty of financing the whole scheme of the Blackfeet missions still con- 
stitutes a difficult problem for the Church of England in this field. 

In 1895 Mr. Tims and Mr. Stocken exchanged missions. A hospital 
was established on the Blackfoot Reserve in 1897. The Indian Department 
of the Government erected the building. The salary of the resident mis- 
sionary (for many years Dr. Rose) was paid by the Church Missionary 
Society and the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, while 
the salaries of the nurses were paid by the Women's Auxiliaries of Ontario. 
An Indian Industrial School, similar to one founded and carried on at 
High River by the Roman Catholic Church, was established at Calgary in 
1895 and placed under Rev. H. G. Hogbin, but after several years it was 
abandoned (1907). 

The work of combining evangelical and school work has continued from 
the first on all the reserves, and the results justify the faith of those who 
founded them. Archdeacon Tims and Canon Stocken are still (1923) in 
the services of the Church in connection with these missions. Their names 
will be always identified with the good work of leading the Blackfeet sav- 
ages up the path of civilization. 

The sacrifices of the churches, Anglican, Roman Catholic and Methodist 
among the Blackfeet have transformed them from savages to citizens, in 
almost every respect, except that they have not the franchise. Their sav- 
age, sickly rites of torturing the body to propitiate the sun are unknown 
to the generation of today. Polygamy has been abandoned. They are no 
longer shiftless nomads wandering away from their reserves with guns 
and tomahawks. They earn their living and are making progress in the 
arts of field and animal husbandry. Without the help of the missionaries 
the civil authorities would have merely fed and clothed the savages. The 
churches, through the potent factor of religion, have elevated them to at 
least the fundamentals of Christian civilization. 

The Church Missionary Society, which had spent vast sums in carry- 
ing the Gospel to the Indians and the Eskimos from Hudson's Bay to the 
Yukon, and which had sent so many able and devoted men — West, Ander- 
son, Kirkby, Hunter, Bompas, Holmes, McKay, Tims, Young, Lucas, 
Stringer — decided in 1920 to retire from the Canadian Field and to hand 
over its task to the Missionary Society of the Church of England in Can- 


ada. This body has now the control of pastoral and evangelistic work of 
Anglican missions among the Indians and Eskimos. 

The year 1920 is an appropriate date to close this summary of the 
growth of the Anglican Church in Western Canada. It marks the lapse 
of a century from the time that Rev. John West arrived at Red River and 
founded the first Anglican mission among the Indians of Rupert's Land. 
The event was celebrated in October, 1920, at Winnipeg, with becoming 
ceremony and thanksgiving. The parish that John West founded among 
the heartsick pioneers at Red River one hundred years ago has grown to 
be one of the most opulent cities of the Dominion of Canada and the centre 
of a great ecclesiastical province comprising ten dioceses. 


We have noticed that in dealing with Anglican and Methodist missions 
in Western Canada, the initiative in establishing the missions was taken 
by the ruling bodies of these denominations in the Old Country. Roman 
Catholic and Presbyterian missions were first established in the West by 
the ruling bodies of these denominations in Canada, though we have seen 
that many of the Oblate Fathers were sons of Old France. 

Many of the Selkirk settlers were Presbyterians, and it was the inten- 
tion of Lord Selkirk that a Presbyterian minister should accompany them 
to the Red River. But for over a generation after their arrival in their 
new home, they were without a minister of their own religion and wor- 
shipped with the Anglicans of the colony. After applying in vain to the 
Hudson's Bay Company and to the Church of Scotland, they appealed to 
the Presbyterian Church of Canada for a minister. Accordingly Rev. 
John Black was sent out in 1857 to Red River, and founded the first Pres- 
byterian Church in Western Canada in the Parish of Kildonan, so named 
because many of the original colonists came from the parish of Kildonan 
in the north of Scotland. Eleven years later Rev. James Nisbet arrived 
from upper Canada to assist Mr. Black. In 1866 Mr. Nisbet was sent by 
the congregation of Kildonan to establish a mission in what is now the 
Province of Saskatchewan. He was accompanied by Mr. John McKay, a 
famous buflfalo hunter, who acted as his interpreter, and Mr. Adam Mc- 
Beth, a teacher. After a trip of fifty days from Fort Garry, the party 
reached the site of the present city of Prince Albert, and established a 
mission there. Mr. McKay afterwards became an ordained missionary 
and ministered for many years on the reserve of Chief Mistawasis near 
Prince Albert, rendering loyal and valuable service during the half-breed 
rebellion of 1885. Mr. Nisbet remained at Prince Albert until 1874. Worn 
out by his exacting labors he was compelled to retire to Winnipeg and died 
shortly afterwards. 

The Presbyterian Church grew rapidly with the development of the 
country following the transfer of Rupert's Land to the Dominion of Can- 

First Baptist Church Knox Church (Presbyterian) 



ada in 1870. A large proportion of the new settlers in Manitoba and the 
North West Territories were Scotch-Canadians from Ontario and the 
Maritime Provinces. In 1870 there were only five Presbyterian ministers 
in the whole of Western Canada — Black, Nisbet, Matheson, Fletcher and 
McNab. But in that year the Presbytery of Manitoba was organized, and 
in the following year Manitoba College, an institution of higher learning 
under the Presbyterian Church was founded. Rev. Geo. Bryce, Principal. 
A few months later the Church of Scotland sent out Rev. John Hart, as 
professor in Manitoba College. Soon the work of the College claimed the 
whole time of Principal Bryce, who was also pastor of Knox Church, Win- 
nipeg. In this pastorate he was succeeded in 1874 by Rev. James Robert- 
son — the statesman of Presbyterianism in the West, and who with Tache, 
Bompas and McDougall completes the most illustrious quartet of mission- 
aries in Western Canada. 

In 1874 Rev. Hugh McKellar was ordained for the work at Prince 
Albert. The first call for a missionary for Alberta came from Edmonton 
in 1880. One year later Rev. A. B. Baird established a mission there, 
preaching his first sermon November 6, 1881. He remained until 1887, 
being assisted at times in his wide field by students J. L. Campbell and A. 
S. Grant. 

Dr. James Robertson was appointed Superintendent of Presbyter- 
ian Missions in Western Canada in 1881. This was a new position 
in the Church, and the powers of the new official gave some concern to 
the conservatively orthodox of the church. These men carried that hatred 
of prelacy that roused the wrath of John Knox. They feared the powers 
of the new Superintendent would derogate from the autonomy of the Pres- 
bytery. But Robertson's great abilities, energy and fiery zeal and above 
all his prophet's vision of the marvelous developments that were coming 
in Western Canada gradually bore down all opposition. This great prairie 
prophet, missionary and statesmen probably saw more clearly than any 
man of his day in Canada that the task of the church in the West was to 
march abreast of the settler, the navvy, the homesteader and the pros- 
pector to the uttermost parts of the Great Lone Land. To this task he gave 
his life. "Dr. Robertson staked out the country," says Rev. Canon Tucker 
of the Church of England in Canada, "occupied its strategic points, early 
aroused the church to its needs and opportunities and dotted the whole 
land with Presbyterian Churches and manses, and thus enabled the Pres- 
byterian Church to work its noble and manly spirit into every fibre of our 
national eye." 

Soon after his appointment he organized, and as years went by, he 
financed the Church and Manse Building Fund and so gave visibility to 
his work. Through this fund he caused to be erected 419 churches and 
90 manses before he died in 1902. 

In 1883 the Presbytery of Manitoba was divided into the Presbyteries 
of Winnipeg, Rock Lake and Brandon, the latter including what is now 


Alberta and British Columbia, These three Presbyteries were erected 
into the first Presbyterian Synod of Western Canada at the same time, 
namely: the Synod of Manitoba and the North West Territories. In the 
same year a Faculty of Theology was instituted in Manitoba College, with 
Rev. J. M. King, Minister of St. James Square Presbyterian Church, To- 
ronto, principal. At that time there were four Presbyterian missions in 
Alberta — Edmonton, Rev. A. B. Baird; Calgary, Rev. Angus Robertson; 
Fort Macleod and Medicine Hat. 

A new Presbytery was formed in 1885, the Presbytery of Regina, Rev. 
P. S. Livingstone, of Regina, Moderator. In that year, Dr. Robertson vis- 
ited Fort Macleod and decided to re-establish the mission there. Mr. W. P. 
Mackenzie, a student, had carried on services there and at Pincher Creek 
until the outbreak of the rebellion. In 1887 there were ten Presbyter- 
ian mission centres in Alberta, as follows: Edmonton, Rev. A. B. Baird; 
Calgary, Rev. J. C. Herdman; Lethbridge, Rev. C. W. McKillop; Medi- 
cine Hat, Pincher Creek, Banff, Anthracite, Cochrane, High River, Mac- 

The Edmonton Church is known as First Presbyterian Church and is 
the oldest Presbyterian Church in the Province. Rev. D. G. McQueen, 
who succeeded Mr. Baird in 1887, is still the pastor of this congregation 
and the Grand Old Man of Presbyterianism in Alberta — an ornament 
to his sacred profession in any age or place in the history of the church. 
The Presbyterian Church in Calgary was founded in 1883, the first serv- 
ices being held in I. G. Baker's store. Rev. Angus Robertson being the first 

The General Assembly formed the Presbytery of Calgary in 1887, 
bounded on the West by the Columbia River in British Columbia, Rev. 
Angus Robertson, first Moderator. The Presbytery of Edmonton was 
next formed in 1896, extending from the Red Deer River to the Arctic 
Ocean, possibly the largest presbytery in the world. 

Work was resumed in Macleod and Pincher Creek under Rev. R. C. 
Tibb in 1888. Three years later (1891) these stations were separated, 
Rev. J. P. Grant going to Pincher Creek and Rev. Gavin Hamilton assum- 
ing charge of Macleod, 1891-1897, and succeeded by Rev. J. A. Jaffray, 
1897-1906. Three elders, Messrs. R. Patterson, T. A. Struthers and T. S. 
McLean, of the first session, still preside at Macleod. Rev. James Bu- 
chanan was sent by Dr. Robertson in 1891 to open Presbyterian missions 
between Calgary and Lacombe, in 1891. He opened missions at Innisfail, 
Red Deer, Lacombe, Blackfalds, Bowden, Olds and Scorlett's. Rev. John 
Fernie was the first regular pastor at Lacombe, coming there in 1892, 
remaining until 1897 and succeeded by Rev. Dr. M. White. 

During the interval from 1887 to 1896 the railway had been built from 
Macleod to Edmonton, and also from Medicine Hat to Lethbridge. As 
towns grew up along these lines, Presbyterian Churches and others 


sprang up with them and rapidly grew from mission stations to aug- 
mented charges, and finally into self-sustaining congregations. 

The early nineties were years of depression in Western Canada. The 
world was approaching the lowest level of prices experienced since the 
Napoleonic Wars. Financial depression in the West was reflected in the 
Home Mission and Augmentation Funds of the Church. To sustain the 
work in the Western mission fields. Rev. C. W. Gordon (Ralph Connor) 
visited Scotland in 1894 and secured support for fifty missions for a 
period of five years. Two years later Dr. Robertson visited the Old Coun- 
try and secured support for forty missions. But other than these ap- 
peals to the Old Country the Presbyterian Church in Canada has relied 
solely on its own resources to carry on its splendid program of Home Mis- 
sions in Western Canada. Its sturdy independence in this respect may 
be the reason for its great success in the West, where its adherents lead in 
numbers those of any other church or religious denomination. 

Dr. Robertson died in 1902 and was succeeded by Rev. Dr. E. D. 
McLaren. By this time the work had grown so extensively that a change 
in organization was necessary. Dr. McLaren was appointed General Sec- 
retary of Missions and with him were associated two Superintendents, 
Rev. J. A. Carmichael, of Regina, for the Home Mission District of Sas- 
katchewan and Rev. J. C. Herdman of Calgary for the Home Mission 
District of Alberta. 

By 1904 two new presbyteries were formed in Alberta, Red Deer and 
Macleod, being formed out of the Presbyteries of Edmonton and Calgary 
respectively. There were at that time nine self-sustaining congregations, 
five augmented charges, and twenty-seven mission stations. Two years 
later (1906) there were one hundred and six congregations and mission 
fields. The growth of the country was reflected in the formation of new 

In 1907 the Presbyteries of Vermilion, Lacombe and High River were 
formed. At the same time the Synod of Alberta was formed, Rev. Dr. 
McQueen being the first Moderator. The Presbytery of Castor was formed 
in 1913, Rev. William Miller, Moderator; Medicine Hat in 1914, Rev. J. W. 
Morrow, Moderator; Peace River, 1920, Rev. A. Forbes, Moderator. Ex- 
pansion in Alberta is indicated further by the foundation of Robertson 
Theological College in 1910 at Edmonton, named after the great Super- 
intendent Robertson. Rev. Dr. S. W. Dyde was the first principal. Dr. 
Dyde returned to Queen's University in 1919 and was succeeded by Rev. 
Dr. James Millar, the present principal. 

The flow of immigration to Northern Alberta and into the valley of 
the Peace River directed the attention of the Synod of Alberta to the need 
of missions at important centres in this wide territory. Rev. A. Simpson 
had visited this district in 1904. In 1910 Rev. A. Forbes and Mrs. Forbes, 
after many years of faithful service (since 1885) at Fort Saskatchewan, 
undertook to establish the pioneer Presbyterian Mission in the Peace River 


Valley. This mission was established at Grande Prairie and through the 
support of the Women's Home Missionary Society of the Presbyterian 
Church in Canada, an auxiliary body of the Home Mission Board, a hos- 
pital in charge of Mrs. Forbes, was established at this point in connec- 
tion with the mission. Several such hospitals were established by this 
Society in Western Canada, mostly in connection with Presbyterian mis- 
sions in foreign settlements. This was the second in Alberta, the other 
being the one at Vegreville, established in 1907 for the Ruthenians of 
that District. 

Rev. J. C. Herdman, Superintendent of Missions in Alberta since 1902, 
retired in 1910 on account of illness. Rev. Dr. McLaren, General Secre- 
tary of Missions, resigned in the following year. Rev. A. S. Grant, a man 
of experience in Western missions, and with a record of heroic service 
among the gold diggers of the Yukon, was appointed to Dr. McLaren's 
place, and Rev. W. D. Reed, of Montreal, succeeded Dr. Herdman. 

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church met at Edmonton 
in 1912. Naturally the Western problems of the Church took a prominent 
place in the proceedings. Authority was given at this Assembly for the 
reorganization of the Home Mission Committee. A new body, the Home 
Mission Board (Western Section), was formed with Rev. A. S. Grant, Con- 
vener and General Superintendent and Rev. J. H. Edmison, General Secre- 
tary. The Western field was divided into ten districts with a Superin- 
tendent for each district. Alberta was divided into the Northern District, 
under Rev. Wm. Simons ; Central District under Rev. Wm. Shearer ; South- 
ern District under Rev. J. T. Ferguson. 

In 1913 Rev. R. F. Thompson opened a new mission at Spirit River. 
Rev. W. McKay was put in charge, Mr, Thompson moving westward to 
Pouce Coupe and among settlements growing up in the Peace River Block. 
The hospital at Grande Prairie was taken over by the Women's Missionary 
Society. By 1914 the work of the Home Mission Board was extended to 
include social service and Evangelism. The church suffered a severe 
loss through the resignation of the General Superintendent, Rev. A. S. 
Grant in 1916. The following year Rev. Dr. G. C. Pidgeon accepted direc- 
tion of this work until Rev. W. H. Sedgewick was appointed in 1917. 

A new departure in mission work was made in 1916 when Rev. J. E. 
Duclos opened a mission and school among the French Canadians at Bonny- 
ville. The work was supplemented by a hospital established by the Wo- 
men's Missionary Society. A similar hospital by the same body was 
opened at Vermilion among the Ruthenians. Mr. Duclos extended his 
work by opening a mission at St. Paul, and another at Cold Lake in 1919, 
the first Protestant missions at these points. In Cardston a fine new 
church was completed this year with Rev. R. Aylward, minister. This 
field had been opened by Rev. Gavin Hamilton from Macleod, and in 1906 
Rev. A. W. R. Whiteman took charge. This has been one of the hardest 
centres of missionary work in the whole Province and little progress has 


been made among the Mormons. The tenacity of Mormonism does not 
yield even to the hardness and tenacity of Calvinism. 

In 1921 Robertson College graduated the first minister who had re- 
ceived all his education in Alberta and had been born in the Province. 
This year also witnessed the extension of Presbyterian mission work to 
the Upper Peace River Valley. Rev. J. P. Henderson ministered to a field 
which took him a month to travel around — Pouce Coupe, St, John, Hud- 
son's Hope, Moberly Lake, North Fork of the Fine River, South Fork of the 
I ine and Cut Bank — a distance of 247 miles. That year Superintendent 
Simons visited Fort Vermilion and it was ordered by the Presbytery of 
Peace River to open a station the next year with Rev. T. F. McGregor in 
charge, and the Women's Missionary Society promptly opened a Cottage 
Hospital. Here is a field where the modern means of travel do not exist. 
The missionary builds his boat or raft on the rivers and floats down stream 
every time he visits his station. In the interior he travels by dog sled or 
canal, or on snowshoes, as the missionaries did half a century ago between 
Fort Garry and Edmonton. 

It is now (1923) forty years since the first Presbyterian Mission was 
opened in Alberta. Since that time the Presbyterian Church has grown 
to the first place among all the churches in Alberta, numbering at last 
census (1921) 120,868. In 1883 there were four missions. Now there are 
121 regular ministers, 219 augmented charges, 89 students on 264 mis- 
sion fields. The seed cast by Rev. John Black in Kildonan has indeed 
been as a grain of mustard seed. 


The settlement of large numbers of Galician colonies in Western Can- 
ada raised a problem which fell in the main to the Presbyterian Church 
to cope with. These people were about equally divided between the 
Greek Catholic and Roman Catholic churches. The enjoyment of civil and 
religious freedom engendered a strong feeling of independence in the 
hearts of hundreds of these new Canadians. Dissatisfied with the mother 
church, they sent a deputation in 1906 to the Home Mission leaders of the 
Presbyterian Church. This was the beginning of the Independent Greek 
Church movement in Western Canada. 

Provision was made for special training in Manitoba College for the 
young men of the Independent Greek Church. A shortened ritual was 
agreed upon by the ministers of this church so as to give the priest or min- 
ister more time for preaching and exposition of the scriptures during the 
services. The church was governed by a Consistory, constituted on the 
principle of a presbytery. The ministers of the church were ordained 
by the Consistory and not by a Bishop or other prelate. In 1907 seven 
young missionaries of this church were ministering in Alberta. Over one 
thousand families in the Province were identified with the movement. 


During the next few years the Presbyterian Church assisted the Inde- 
pendent Greek Church and the work steadily grew. The Galician minis- 
ters asked for larger salaries and for manses and churches. The Pres- 
byterian Church, however, would not spend money on property not 
vested in the Presbyterian Church, neither would it spend money except 
under the supervision of the Presbyteries. The Home Mission Board there- 
fore decided in 1912 to withdraw support from the Independent Greek 
Church as such and to establish Presbyterian missions in Galician settle- 
ments. The ministers of the Independent Greek Church then made appli- 
cation to be received as ministers into the Presbyterian Church. The 
application was confirmed by the General Assembly at Toronto in 1913 and 
nineteen ministers were admitted. 

The work among the Ruthenians in Alberta, as in other parts of West- 
ern Canada, has been adversely affected by the Great war and by the reflex 
influence of the Russian Revolution and the breakup of Austria-Hungary. 
"Many of these people," said Superintendent Simons in his report for 
1918, "have become independent and sullen toward Canadian institutions." 
This feeling was augmented by a nationalist movement to combat assimila- 
tion. While the movement was not serious from a civic or political point 
of view, it embarrassed and retarded missionary progress among those 
who gave such promise when the Independent Greek Church was started 
some years before. Efforts were made by the Ruthenian Nationalist Party 
to organize a Ruthenian National Church. The new church was launched, 
January, 1919, adopting the creed and ritual of the Greek Orthodox 
Church. The result has been to spread confusion and scepticism among 
an excellent class of settlers who are naturally pious and peaceful. Not- 
withstanding, progress is being made by the establishment of school 
homes for the young people. Homes are in operation at Vermilion, Ve- 
greville and Edmonton. In Edmonton the Presbyterian and Methodist 
Churches are cooperating on lines of social settlement work under Rev. 
W. H. Pike, of the Methodist Church, at several centres in the city. In 
1922 a School Home was opened in Westminster Ladies' College (formerly 
Red Deer Ladies' College, opened in 1913 and moved to Edmonton), for 
high school and University Ukranian girls who come to the capital for the 
advantages of secondary and higher education. 


Pioneer McDonald: — The Baptist Church celebrated the jubilee of its 
advent to Western Canada in June, 1923. Fifty years before Rev. Alex- 
ander McDonald, the pioneer Baptist missionary of Western Canada, ar- 
rived in Winnipeg. Spending the summer there he found that a Baptist 
Church was needed and returned to Ontario to raise funds to build the 
church. Next year he returned to Winnipeg, traveling over the Daw- 
son Route. By November (1874) the church was built, and the first 


Baptist Church of Winnipeg was organized three months later (Feb- 
ruary 7, 1875) with seven members. 

Four years later there were four Baptist churches in Western Canada, 
with a membership of 162. 

In 1883 Pioneer McDonald resigned his Winnipeg pastorate and be- 
came a missionary at large, spending some years in the United States. In 
1893 he established the first Baptist Church in Edmonton, where he re- 
mained eight years before accepting the pastorate of Strathcona Baptist 
Church. After two years at Strathcona he went to Leduc in 1903, and 
built a church there, mortgaging his own house to do so. He died in 1911. 
To commemorate his name the Baptists of Edmonton built a church in 
1907— McDonald Memorial Church. 

General Organization: — In 1881 the "Red River Association of Baptist 
Churches" was formed. This name was changed the next year to the 
"Missionary Convention of Manitoba," which included seven churches. 
Two years later (1884) the name was changed again to "The Baptist Con- 
vention of Manitoba and North West Territories." In 1885 the Conven- 
tion, representing thirteen churches and 650 members, met in Brandon, 
where the first church in that place had been just completed — Rev. J. H. 
Best, pastor. \ 

The first Superintendent of Baptist Missions in the West was Rev. 
J. H. Best, appointed in 1887. From 1892 to 1897 Rev. H. G. Mellick was 
Superintendent, and in 1901 Rev. Dr. C. C. McLaurin was appointed Gen- 
eral Missionary. Dr. McLaurin has been a great traveler in the cause of 
missions, covering an average of 20,000 miles a year, and has been re- 
sponsible for the organization of 75 churches in the three prairie provinces. 

For a number of years the Baptist Churches of British Columbia were 
united with those of the State of Washington, but in 1897 they formed a 
separate Convention for the Baptist Churches of the Pacific province. Early 
in 1906 negotiations were opened between the Convention of British Colum- 
bia and the Convention of Manitoba and North West Territories. At the 
annual meeting of the latter body, held in Edmonton, June, 1907, the 
Executive Board was empowered to effect a union with the Convention of 
British Columbia. The latter body took similar action at its annual meet- 
ing a few days later (July 9th). A basis of union was agreed upon, which 
was ratified by a Convention of delegates from all the Baptist churches in 
Western Canada held in Calgary, November 20th, of the same year. The 
new organization was called "The Baptist Convention of Western Can- 
ada." Rev, W. T. Stackhouse was elected first Superintendent. In 1909 
at the annual meeting in Moose Jaw, the name of the general body was 
changed to "The Baptist Union of Western Canada." Changes were also 
made in the constitution to provide for provincial Conventions for each 
of the four Western Provinces, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and 
British Columbia. 

The Union was constituted a corporate body with supervision over 


Home Missions, Foreign Missions, Education and Publications of the Bap- 
tist Church in Western Canada. Previous to the union in 1907 the Conven- 
tions each pubKshed a church paper. These were amalgamated under the 
name of "The Western Outlook" and changed later to "The Western 

The chief executive officer of the Union is the General Secretary. This 
office claims an outstanding man of the church and has invariably been 
filled by such a man. A list of the General Secretaries of the Union is a 
catalogue of brilliant leaders, endowed with the spirit of sacrifice and 
service that endears them to Baptists everywhere in the West and the 
Dominion of Canada: 

W. T. Stackhouse, 1907-1909. 

D. B. Harkness, 1910-1911. 

J. F. Mclntyre, 1912-1914. 

C. R. Sayer, 1915-1918. 

F. W. Patterson, 1919-1922. 

L. M. Orchard, 1923. 
For many years, up to 1907, the Mission Board of the Baptist Church in 
the West, had two departments of missions — English and Non-English. 
After the formation of the Baptist Union of Western Canada, all missions 
in the West were placed under a General Board with a Superintendent and 
an Assistant Superintendent. And in order to cope with the increased 
demands for Baptist services in all parts of the West, especially in Alberta 
and Saskatchewan, due to the heavy immigration of the period, a General 
Missionary was appointed for each of the Prairie Provinces. Rev. C. C. 
McLaurin, the General Missionary for the three Prairie Provinces, was 
appointed to Alberta, Rev. C. B. Freeman, to Saskatchewan and Rev. C. K. 
Morse to Manitoba. At the same time the new organization was strength- 
ened by the appointment of a Home Mission Committee of twelve members 
in each Province. Missionary evangelists carried on the work among for- 
eign settlers — Rev. Fred Palmborg among the Scandinavians, and Rev. 
Wm. Schunke among the Germans. 

To facilitate the work among the non-English settlers of the West, who 
adhered to the Baptist Church, there were organized within the Western 
Union, the Northern Conference of German Baptists, the Canada Central 
Scandinavian Conference and the Russian-Ruthenian Conference. These 
organizations were related to the Union and the General Board in the same 
manner as the Provincial Conventions, and therefore enjoyed a good meas- 
ure of autonomy. Arrangements were completed in 1910 for cooperation 
with the General Missionary Society of the German Baptist Churches of 
America and the German Conference in the West. Rev. F. H. Heineman, 
from Minnesota, was appointed assistant to the Superintendent of German 
Baptist Missions. The latter office, which was vacant owing to the resigna- 
tion of Rev. Wm. Schunke, was filled by the appointment in 1911 of Rev. 
F. A. Bloedow, Secretary of the German Conference. In the same way 


assistance was given to the Scandinavian Baptists by the Swedish General 
Conference of America, through the appointment of Rev. J. P. Sundstrom 
as Superintendent upon the resignation of Rev. F. Palmborg. Mr. Sund- 
strom remained in this capacity until 1922, when he was succeeded by Rev. 
J. Paul Erickson. To assist the Superintendents of Missions in the differ- 
ent Provinces, the time of whom was largely taken up with matters of 
organization and finance, two missionary evangelists were appointed by 
the General Board of the Union in 1909 — Rev. F. W. Dafoe for Manitoba 
and Saskatchewan, Rev. J. W. Litch for Alberta and British Columbia. 

A notable event in the history of the Baptist Churches of Western 
Canada was the visit of Rev. Dr. John Clifford, the greatest living Bap- 
tist of the time and the leader of the Nonconformists in Great Britain. 
Dr. Clifford attended the meetings of the different Conventions in the 
summer of 1911 at Winnipeg, Regina and Calgary. 

In 1920 the General Board of the Union established a general endow- 
ment fund. Provision was made for placing in a capital fund bequests 
and gifts toward the missionary work of the Church and for using the 
income for the purposes of the respective donations. At the same time 
steps were taken to establish a Ministerial Superannuation Fund by the 
same method. Here it may be noted that the union received a grant of 
$10,000 per year from Mr. John D. Rockefeller. 

The relationship existing between the Northern German Conference 
and the Union was terminated in 1920. The German speaking churches 
decided to work independently and in affiliation with the Conference of 
German Speaking Churches of America instead of joining the Union on 
the same terms as the English Speaking Conferences or Conventions. 
Changes followed also at the same time in the Scandinavian Conference. 
This Conference was divided into a Sw^edish Department and a Norwegian 
Department. The administration of the Norwegian work was placed 
under a Committee appointed by the Union, consisting of two men from 
Western Canada, the Secretary of the Norwegian Conference of Baptist 
Churches in the United States, and the General Secretary of the Baptist 
Union. Rev. John Sempson was appointed General Missionary of the Nor- 
wegian Department, confining his labors chiefly to Alberta and Saskatche- 
wan. The work among the Scandinavians was supported by the Swedish 
and Norwegian Conferences in the United States. The Swedish Confer- 
ence in the United States made an annual grant of $3,500 and the Nor- 
wegian Conference in the United States, a grant of $1,200 annually. 

Like the Presbyterian and the Methodist Churches, the Baptist 
Churches of Western Canada have shown great interest in promoting the 
evangelical movement that has manifested itself from time to time among 
the Russian and Ruthenian immigrants. In 1920 Rev. C. P. Cundy, a 
pastor specially trained for this work, was appointed and accepted the 
task. But the Baptist Church met with the same difficulties as the other 
churches engaged in fostering this movement. The growth of various 


tendencies toward communism and socialism among many of the younger 
generation of these people has greatly retarded the evangelical movement. 

New features of the organization of the Baptist Church in Alberta for 
effective work have been the appointment of General Secretary of Sunday 
Schools, Rev. P, H. Robert in 1921, and the establishment of a permanent 
Baptist Summer School for ministers and other church workers at Gull 
Lake, Alberta, the same year. 

The Baptist Union of Western Canada has refused cooperation in the 
organic union movement now being consummated among the other Protest- 
ant Churches. The Union feels compelled through basic principles of its 
organization, its freedom from credal standards, its conception of the non- 
sacerdotal character of the New Testament Church, to hold aloof from 
the wider Union movement. 

The history, organization and achievement of the Baptist Church in 
Western Canada would be incomplete without a reference to the work done 
by the Baptist Women's Missionary Society of Western Canada. The 
work began when the Women's Home Mission and Foreign Missionary 
Society of Manitoba and the North West Territories was organized in 
Winnipeg December 9, 1887. With the usual energy of women's organiza- 
tions, it attacked many problems and adopted many causes. It was an 
ardent and useful supporter of the Baptist Missionary work among the 
Indians, the Scandinavians, Germans and Ruthenians, and specialized in 
giving assistance toward the building of churches on the prairies. 

In November, 1907, the Baptist Women's Missionary Society of West- 
ern Canada was formed to conform with the Union then taking place be- 
tween the Conventions of British Columbia and of the Prairie Provinces. 
At that time there were forty-seven Home Mission Circles in the North- 
West, this being the name of the local unit in each congregation that forms 
the basis of the Missionary Society. Its objects are home and foreign 
missions in cooperation with the Baptist Union of Western Canada. It 
supports missions in Bolivia and India. 

The rapid growth of settlement rendered it necessary for the Society to 
organize Women's Missionary Societies in each Province or Convention, 
and in 1914 the Baptist Women's Missionary Society of Western Canada 
was changed to the Board of Women's Work of the Baptist Union of West- 
ern Canada. 

First Congregations in Alberta: — The first Baptist Church in Alberta 
was organized in Calgary in May, 1888, with seven members. Two years 
later a church was built and opened (August 31, 1890). The total cost 
was $2,069. The present First Baptist Church, built on a different site in 
1912, cost $152,131. The Baptist Church in Medicine Hat dates from 
1890. In 1892 Rev. H. G. Mellick, Superintendent of Missions, held the 
first Baptist service in Edmonton. The next year, February 19, 1893, 
Rev. Alexander McDonald organized a congregation of nineteen members, 


and that summer a brick church was built, the first brick church in Ed- 
monton, and opened for pubKc worship in November following. 

Other early congregations were: Rabbit Hills (German), 1892; Dids- 
bury 1893; Strathcona 1895; Leduc (German) 1895; Wetaskiwin (Ger- 
man) 1896; Josephburg (German) 1899; Battle River (Scandinavian) 
1900; Burnt Lake (Scandinavian) 1901; Crooked Lake (Scandinavian) 
1901; Lethbridge, 1905; Shiloh, Edmonton (colored) 1910. 

Baptist Colleges ifi the West: — To supply the need of an institution of 
higher learning for the young men and women of the Baptist Church in 
the West, and to found a training college for the Baptist Ministry, Bran- 
don College was established in 1899. Attempts had been made by zealous 
individuals before. Dr. Crawford, of Woodstock College, resigned his 
position there in 1880 to come West. His aim was to found a school to 
teach Arts and Theology. He established in Rapid City, Manitoba. For 
lack of adequate support, Prairie College, as the institution was called, 
was closed by the Manitoba Convention in 1883. The year before Pro- 
fessor S. J. McKee had opened an academy in Rapid City to give pre- 
paratory and collegiate training. This institution was later moved to 
Brandon, where it was carried on until 1899. In that year the Convention 
of Manitoba and the North-West decided to establish a Baptist College 
under its own control, and took over Prof. McKee's academy at Brandon, 
re-naming the institution Brandon College. Rev. Dr. A. P. McDiarmid, 
Secretary of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions was appointed Presi- 
dent of the College. It was opened October 2, 1899, with 110 students, 
thirteen of whom were enrolled as candidates for the ministry of the 
Baptist Church. The Legislative Assembly of Manitoba has refused to 
grant University powers to the college, which has led to affiliation with 
McMaster University, Toronto. In 1912 Dr. McDiarmid was succeeded 
by Rev. Dr. H. P. Whidden, who held the position until 1923, when Rev. 
Dr. Franklin P. Sweet became President. 

Okanagan College, at Summerland, B. C, was opened under the con- 
trol of the Baptist Union in October, 1907, Rev. Dr. E. W. Sawyer, princi- 
pal, which position he held until 1914, and was succeeded by Rev. S. 
Everton. Owing to the conditions created by the war, the work of this 
institution has been suspended. 

Steps were taken by the Baptist Union in 1913 to utilize a grant of 
land for educational purposes out of the estate of the late A. J. McArthur, 
M. L. A., of Calgary, and found a new Baptist College, to be known as 
McArthur College. Rev. D. R. Sharpe, B. D., was appointed principal. 
But before money could be subscribed for the success of the college the 
war intervened and nothing further has been done. 

The year 1923 was the Jubilee year of the Baptist Church in Western 
Canada and the 35th year of its existence in Alberta. During that period 
237 churches have been established, with a membership of 20,209, grouped 
into ten Conferences and Conventions. Growth in Alberta is shown by 


comparing statistics of 1894 with those of 1923. In 1894 there were three 
churches, the total raised was $9,285. The latest returns (December 31, 
1922) show fifty-five English speaking congregations, with a membership 
of 4,179, and a budget of $107,000, seven Swedish churches, one Nor- 
wegian and ten Russo-Ukranian churches. 


The members of the Moravian Church in Alberta are German Russians 
who began to emigrate from Volhynia about 1894. They were forced to 
leave their homes in that land because they could not get title to their lands 
unless they became members of the Greek Church. Their love of liberty 
and devotion to their faith clashed with the political plotting of the Rus- 
sian Government and the bigotry of the State Church. They were forced 
to choose between degradation or emigration. They chose the latter and 
were induced by the Dominion Government to settle near Edmonton, 
around Bruederheim, and a few miles southeast of Edmonton on the 
vacant Indian Reserve of Papaschase. Soon after their arrival and set- 
tlement, they asked for the protection and services of the Moravian Church 
in the United States. That body, through its Provincial Elders' Confer- 
ence, and Board of Extension, sent a representative. Rev. Morris W. Lie- 
bert, of Bethlehem, Pa., to inspect the field. He visited the two colonies 
in December, 1895. Acting upon his report the Elders' Conference and 
Board of Church Extension decided to support their Moravian brethren in 
Alberta, and to send them a pastor. Rev. Clement Hoyler accepted the 
appointment and took up his work among the Moravians of Alberta in 
February, 1896, assisted by Bro. Andrew Lilge. 

Under Bishop Hoyler the work has grown with amazing success. In a 
material way these devoted people have prospered beyond their highest 
hopes that impelled them to emigrate to Alberta. They have maintained 
the time-honored reputation and character of the Moravian Church, 
which has throughout its history given more per head for missions and 
sent a larger proportion of its membership into foreign missions than any 
other church in Christendom. 

There are now in the Canadian District ten congregations, nine 
churches, seven parsonages, 773 communicants and a total of 1,406 mem- 
bers. In 1920 they raised $16,530 for their own work and $4,680 for 
outside causes. 


The principal State institutions of education in Alberta are the Public 
Schools, the Normal Schools, the Provincial University, the Schools of 
Agriculture and the Institute of Technology. 

The first educational institutions of the Province of Alberta, as well 
as of the North West Territories, were the mission schools of the Roman 
Catholic Church and the various denominational schools of the Protestant 
Churches. For many years these schools, always situated in unorganized 
districts, were granted $100 per quarter by the Territorial Government. 
The organization of the North West Territories gave an opportunity to 
the people to raise a demand for public schools. As pointed out before 
in these pages, there was a constitutional barrier that the North-West 
Council had no power to impose direct taxation except in electoral districts. 
Consequently, upon petition of the North-West Council, the Federal Gov- 
ernment by Order-in-Council November 4, 1879, granted $4,000 in aid of 
schools in the North West Territories. This money was distributed as 
follows : One-half the teacher's salary was paid in every school that had a 
minimum daily attendance of fifteen pupils, and the balance was given 
towards the erection of school buildings. According to the Lieutenant- 
Governor's report for 1884, there were seventeen Protestant and eleven 
Roman Catholic schools receiving aid in this way. 

In 1884 the North-West Council passed the first School Ordinance of the 
North West Territories, and established the basic structure of our public 
school system. A bill to establish public and separate schools was intro- 
duced during the session of 1883 by Mr. Frank Oliver, of Edmonton, but 
did not reach its final stage before the prorogation of the Council. The 
Act of 1884 was drawn along the same lines as Mr. Oliver's Bill of 1883. 
It provided for the erection of a school district by proclamation of the 
Lieutenant-Governor upon receipt of returns showing that a majority of 
the qualified voters in any area of not more than thirty-six square miles 
voted in favor of establishing a school therein. Immediately there was a 
great increase in the number of schools, the Lieutenant-Governor's report 
for 1885 showing that there were forty-eight Protestant public schools, 
ten Roman Catholic schools and one Roman Catholic separate school in 
the North West Territories. 

This Ordinance was repealed in 1885, and a new one passed providing 
for a Board of Education to administer the school law. The new Ordi- 
nance went into eff'ect April 1, 1886. The Board of Education consisted of 



two Protestant and two Roman Catholic members, presided over by the 
Lieutenant-Governor of the North West Territories. The first Board con- 
sisted of Hon. Edgar Dewdney, Chairman; Mr. John Secord and Mr. 
Charles Marshallsay, of the North-West Council, Protestant members, and 
Mr. Chas. B. Rouleau, stipendiary magistrate and ex-offlcio member of the 
North-West Council and Mr. A. E. Forget, Roman Catholic members. 
Mr. James Brown was the first Secretary and held the position for many 
years. Mr. Forget was succeeded a few months after his appointment 
by Rev. Father Albert Lacombe, 0. M. L 

Regular meetings of the Board were held twice a year at Regina, the 
first being held March 11, 1886. Under this Ordinance there were actually 
two classes of schools, Protestant and Roman Catholic schools, with two 
classes of inspectors and two different sets of textbooks. In many dis- 
tricts the inspectors were clergymen of the various religious denomina- 
tions. Within the boundaries of Alberta the following inspectors were 
appointed at the first meeting of the Board of Education : Rev. John 
McLean for the Protestant schools of Calgary and Macleod Districts ; Mr. 
J. W. Costello for the Roman Catholic schools of Calgary and Macleod Dis- 
tricts; Rev. A. B. Baird for the Protestant schools of the Edmonton Dis- 
trict and Rev. Father Lestanc for the Roman Catholic schools of the Ed- 
monton District. Before the Board, as constituted under this Ordinance, 
was abolished in 1892, the following members served terms at different 
periods : The Right Rev. Cyprian Pinkham, Bishop of the Anglican diocese 
of Calgary; Hon. E. L. Wetmore of the Supreme Court of the North West 
Territories; Rev. A. B. Baird, Presbyterian Minister, Edmonton; Rev. 
John McLean, Methodist minister, Macleod; Rev. Father Leduc, O. M. L, 

Among the inspectors were : Rev. Henry Grandin, 0. M. I., afterwards 
Bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of St. Albert ; Rev. Charles McKillop, 
Presbyterian minister, Lethbridge ; and Rev. D. G. McQueen, Presbyterian 
minister, Edmonton. 

The new Board quickly addressed itself to the problems of higher edu- 
cation and training schools for teachers. In 1886 and 1887 requests were 
forwarded through the Lieutenant-Governor to the federal government for 
grants towards high schools and a central training school. The reply of 
the federal government was that it was undesirable to make such grants 
until the wants of the common schools were met. In 1889 the Board 
pressed upon the attention of the federal government the necessity for uni- 
versity land grants in each of the provisional districts of Alberta, Assini- 
boia and Saskatchewan, but nothing came of the suggestion. The difficulty 
in the way of establishing high schools and training schools was met by 
the organization of union schools ; that is, where there were two or more 
adjacent schools with an aggregate daily attendance of 60 pupils, where 
not less than three teachers were employed, and where not less than 15 
pupils from such schools had passed the High School Entrance Examina- 




tion, the trustees were to furnish accommodation and apparatus for a 
high school course and the Board of Education might thereupon authorize 
the establishment of a Normal department. The principals of the union 
schools were assisted in the Normal teaching by the inspectors. 

The first examination for teachers was held at various places in the 
Territories in January, 1887. Thirty-five candidates presented them- 
selves, of whom twelve were granted certificates. The first Board of Ex- 
aminers were Rev. F. W. Pedley, St. John's College, Qu'Appelle, and Rev. 
Father Hugonard, Industrial School, Qu'Appelle. 

The Board of Education always kept before it the necessity of a Uni- 
versity and in January, 1891, invited all the graduates residing in the 
North West Territories to meet at Regina to consider the advisability of 
organizing a University, drafting an Ordinance to give effect to the 

In 1892 the Board of Education was replaced by the Council of Public 
Instruction, composed of the members of the Executive Committee of the 
Legislative Assembly with four appointed members, two Protestant and 
two Roman Catholic members to act in an advisory capacity only. The 
appointed members were: His Lordship the Bishop of Saskatchewan and 
Calgary; Rev. Father Caron, Regina; Mr. A. E. Forget, Regina; and 
Principal Smith of Moosomin. 

In 1893 Dr. Goggin, formerly principal of Manitoba Normal School, 
was appointed Superintendent of Education for the North West Territo- 
ries and principal of the new Normal school at Regina. Under the new 
superintendent the school system of the Territories rapidly expanded and 
improved, comparing favorably with the standards of the older Provinces 
of the Dominion. During the next ten years the number of schools in- 
creased from 262 to 917, and the number of pupils from 8,200 to 41,000. 

More advanced legislation was embodied in the School Ordinance, the 
School Assessment Ordinance, and the School Grants Ordinance of 1901. 
The Council of Public Instruction was superseded by the Educational Coun- 
cil, presided over by a Commissioner, who was a member of the Execu- 
tive Council, consisting of five persons, two of whom were to be Roman 
Catholics. The first Commissioner of Education was Hon. F. W. G. Haul- 
tain. The Council had control, subject to the legislature, of regulations 
respecting inspection of schools, training of teachers, licensing of teach- 
ers, courses of study, textbooks and similar matters. These Ordinances 
with amendments made thereto from time to time, prior and subsequent 
to the formation of the Province of Alberta, constitute the school law 
at the present time. 

While the organization of school districts is, as a rule, taken upon the 
initiative of the residents of the districts, provision is made whereby the 
Minister of Education may, under certain conditions and on his own initia- 
tive, establish a school district. In this way, school facilities may be pro- 
vided where required, even in the face of any indifference or open opposi- 


tion which may exist with respect to school organization. The central 
authority may even go further, and in case of the failure of a district to 
elect trustees, or in the case of failure of the trustees so elected to provide 
for the operation of a school, as required by the School Act and Regula- 
tions, the Minister may appoint an official trustee who immediately as- 
sumes all the authority of a School Board and its officers, and carries on 
the affairs of the district under the direction of the Department of Educa- 
tion. Such a course, however, is almost unknown in practice, as the 
people of the Province, with rare exceptions, are most enthusiastic in sup- 
port of the best educational facilities that can be procured. In support of 
this statement it may be stated that though the School Ordinances have 
always provided for a poll on debenture by-laws when demanded, over 99 
per cent of the amount raised by debentures for school buildings have been 
authorized without the formality of a poll. 

The schools are maintained by a revenue derived partly from a mod- 
erate self-imposed tax and partly by liberal legislative grants made from 
the School Lands Fund and from the Provincial revenues. The basis upon 
which grants are calculated are such as to encourage the engagement of 
the highest grade of teachers, to encourage the regularity of the attend- 
ance of pupils throughout the year, and to encourage the operation of our 
schools throughout the entire school year. Additional grants are based 
on the grading made by the inspectors with regard to school grounds, build- 
ings, equipment and progress. At least half of this additional grant must 
be expended in the purchase of books for school libraries, such books to 
be selected from a catalogue authorized and furnished by the Department. 
As a result the nucleus of a school library may be found in the most remote 
rural school, and a very creditable library will be found in every school 
which has been some years in operation. 

In the Alberta school system all grades, both primary and secondary, 
are included under the term "Public Schools." Thus the same Board of 
Trustees controls the primary and secondary schools. The course of stud- 
ies is so formulated as to give the child whose education ends with the 
elementary school grades, an equipment for life as practical and complete 
as possible. It also provides, however, that those proceeding to the sec- 
ondary grades do so almost unconsciously, the Public School Leaving 
being merely a promotion from Grade VIII — the highest grade in the 
primary schools — to Grade IX — the beginners' class in the secondary 

Attendance at the public school is compulsory upon all children of 
school age. Formerly the age limit in this respect was 14 years, but in 
1918 the School Law was amended, raising the compulsory age limit to 15 

Under the existing school law there is a provision whereby the minor- 
ity of the ratepayers in an established school district, whether Protestant 
or Roman Catholic, may establish a separate school, the boundaries of 


which must coincide with the boundaries of the public school district 
within which it is established. The school operated by such minority 
is maintained by such assessments as they impose upon themselves, to- 
gether with the legislative grant estimated on the same basis as in the 
case of the public schools. The regulations, however, provide for uni- 
formity in the system of inspection of schools and examination, training 
and licensing of teachers. Separate schools in Alberta are not denomi- 
national schools. Provision was made in the North West Territories' Act 
of 1875 for separate schools. But, as pointed out in a previous chapter, 
these privileges enjoyed by the Roman Catholic minority were restricted 
by the Ordinances of the Legislative Assembly in 1892 and 1901 and every 
vestige of ecclesiasticism was eleminated from the school system of the 
North West Territories. 

During the last few years there has grown up within the Province a 
strong popular demand for advancement in education. Such a demand 
or movement is one of the numerous results of the war, but it is also due to 
the increase of wealth and comfort among the people as well as the grow- 
ing conviction that the progress and good government of the state depends 
upon an educated body of citizens. It is expressed in a rapid increase in 
the number of pupils in the secondary, or high schools, in new forms of 
organization of rural schools, in the extension of high school facilities to 
rural districts, and in the establishment of schools for vocational and 
higher technical instruction. The school program under the influence of 
the movement to make the education of the child a development of mind 
and body has been extended to include medical and health services by 
means of school and public health nurses, school clinics, night schools in 
rural districts, continuation classes, accelerated classes for unusually 
bright pupils, sub-normal classes for tardy pupils, and other special activ- 
ities to supplement the fundamentals of a complete elementary education. 
These new activities have developed rapidly in the city schools of the Prov- 
ince, which have reached a high state of efficiency in Art, Manual Training, 
Music, Physical Training and Household Arts. The counterpart of this 
work in the country is the School Fair, which is doing much to inculcate 
an appreciation of the beauty, dignity and importance of rural life. 

About 1912 the Department of Education of Alberta began to foster the 
organization of Consolidated Schools, and at the present time there are 
69 Consolidated School Districts in the Province, which have included 219 
original public school districts within their respective boundaries. New 
legislation in 1912 under the Secondary Consolidated School Act provided 
for the union of several rural public school districts for High School pur- 
poses only, no provision being made for the conveyance of pupils. Under 
this law special grants are made to these schools to assist in meeting the 
extra cost of operation. Since 1920 the Government has encouraged the 
erection of two-roomed schools in rural districts where the enrolment 
exceeds sixty pupils, giving a grant of $3.00 per day for the senior room. 


and if high school subjects are taught, $3.50 per day, as well as the usual 
$1.00 per day for the junior room. 

One of the big problems of the Department of Education for the past 
years has been finding a supply of properly trained teachers for rural 
schools. In 1906 a Normal School was established at Calgary and a sec- 
ond in 1912 at Camrose. Notwithstanding such facilities it was impos- 
sible to find sufficient teachers to take charge of all the schools. 

For the first ten years after the creation of the Province, the number 
of school districts increased from 716 to 2,478. Owing to favorable eco- 
nomic conditions incident to the rapid expansion in a new country, the 
ranks of the teaching profession were steadily depleted. During the war 
the shortage of teachers became gravely acute. A large percentage of 
the male teachers joined the Canadian Expeditionary Forces for service 
overseas, while many of the female teachers joined the Voluntary Aid De- 
tachments and other auxiliary war services. The shortage approximated 
1,600 teachers at the worst period. It became necessary to grant permits to 
University students and high school students of Grades XI and XII. 

In the face of this shortage the Department of Education decided to 
extend the length of the Normal School Course from four months to eight 
months, and at the same time raised the minimum non-professional re- 
quirements for admission to the Normal Schools to Grade XI. Anticipating 
that the effect of such regulations would be to reduce the number of stu- 
dents entering the teachers' training schools, a survey was made of the 
High Schools to ascertain the number of students in these schools proceed- 
ing for teachers' certificates. The survey revealed a serious shortage of 
teachers in the immediate future. The Department therefore inaugur- 
ated a loan policy for students attending the Normal School, and thus 
succeeded in attracting a large number of young men and women to the 
teaching profession. 

At the beginning of 1920 an emergency training course was opened at 
Edmonton to provide a supply of teachers during the transition period 
from the short to the long term. These emergency certificates were valid 
until January 1st, 1922. This emergency course developed into a com- 
plete normal course, making three institutions for the training of teachers 
in the Province. The swing of economic forces has reversed the condi- 
tions created by the war and by the period of rapid growth preceding that 
catastrophe and the problem of teacher supply ceases to concern the De- 
partment of Education any longer. 

Since 1913 the teachers' training has been supplemented by Annual 
Summer Schools held at the University of Alberta during the summer 
holidays. These classes are not compulsory, but, notwithstanding this 
fact, the attendance increases each year. 

Four types of certificates are issued in Alberta, namely : Professional, 
Interim, Temporary and Provisional. Certificates are also graded accord- 
ing to the academic standing of the teacher. These are as follows : Aca- 




demic granted to persons who are graduates of recognized Universities; 
First Class to persons who hold Grade XII academic standing; Second 
Class to persons who hold Grade XI academic standing; training for Third 
Class certificates has not been given in Alberta for several years, but 
teachers coming to Alberta from elsewhere may be granted this stand- 
ing until they qualify for the higher grades of certificate. 

The Alberta Government recognized from the first the difficulty that 
non-English settlers had in establishing public schools and conforming to 
the law set forth in the school ordinance which makes it compulsory that 
all children of school age shall be sent to school and that all instruction 
shall be in the English language. In order to assist these people in over- 
coming the diflficulty, the Government appointed a Supervisor of Foreign 
Schools. This officer organized the settlements into school districts, acted 
as official trustee where needed and in this capacity performed the duties 
of a Board of Trustees and its officers until the settlers understood the 
working of the school law. 

For several years a school for teaching non-English settlers the Eng- 
lish language, Canadian history, geography, and other subjects, was 
maintained at Vegreville. This institution, while it existed, was attended 
principally by young men above school age. In 1919 it was discontinued, 
and night classes for adults were established in centres where foreigners 
were settled. A special inspector was appointed to supervise the work of 
education among New Canadians, who co-operates with the district in- 
spector, wherever such schools are situated. 

In 1914 Dr. James C. Miller was appointed to make a survey of the 
Province to determine a general Provincial policy on technical education. 
The survey covered the Public and High Schools, training of teachers, 
prevocational classes, vocational classes, night school instruction and high- 
er technical instruction. Towards the end of that year the University 
Commission reported in favor of utilizing the proposed University of Cal- 
gary for purposes of higher technical education, and called the new insti- 
tution the Provincial Institute of Technology. Dr. Miller was appointed 
Provincial Director of Technical Education, but before any progress was 
made the serious nature of the war became apparent and the establish- 
ment of a system of technical education was retarded for some years. 

The war, however, in Alberta as in all the other Provinces of Canada, 
stimulated a great interest in technical education. The Provincial Gov- 
ernment aided the schools that provided technical training by giving them 
special grants varying from $200 to $1,500. 

Mining schools were opened in 1916 in the large mining centres of the 
Province and operated under the direction of the Institute of Technology. 
Night schools were opened in the cities and in many of the towns. All 
these measures became necessary to maintain a trained labor supply due 
to the deplet on of the man power of the Province on account of the war. 

The Dor.iinion Government, through the Technical Education Act of 


1919, gave generous grants to all the Provinces of Canada for the promo- 
tion of industrial and technical education, under which Alberta received 
the sum of $41,832 in 1920, and the sum of $47,050 in 1921. Such grants 
were made on the condition that the Province would spend at least an 
equal amount for this purpose. 

The result in Alberta has been a rapid and satisfactory growth in the 
field of vocational and technical education. At the end of June, 1921, there 
were 2,069 students receiving vocational instruction under the authority 
of local school boards in twenty-one cities and towns. Of this number 
1,479 were students in the three cities, Edmonton, Calgary and Leth- 
bridge, and 227 of the latter number were students in the Institute of 

Special Agricultural Schools were established in 1913 at Olds, Clares- 
holm and Vermilion, in connection with the Government Demonstration 
Farms at these points. They were established for training boys and girls 
for scientific farm work. The curriculum includes preparatory teaching 
for untrained young men and women to enable them to receive instruction 
in the subjects relating to agricultural science. The term is for two years. 
A diploma qualifies the holder to enter the University, to proceed to the 
Degree of Bachelor of Science and Agriculture. These schools became 
very popular and three more were established in 1920, namely, at Youngs- 
town, Gleichen and Raymond. But owing to the financial depression of 
1921 and 1922, these last-mentioned have been closed for the time being 
and until conditions improve. 

The Schools of Agriculture are under the jurisdiction of the Minister 
of Agriculture, while all other schools and educational institutions are 
under the Minister of Education. 

Notwithstanding the ample provision made by the Province for educa- 
tion, there are several private schools, mostly denominational. Two of 
these institutions — Westward Ho School for Boys, Edmonton, and West- 
ern Canada College, Calgary — are modelled after the English Public 
Schools. The remainder of the following list are maintained by the re- 
ligious denominations interested : 

Mount Royal College, Calgary. 

St. Hilda's College, Calgary. 

Ambleside School, Calgary. 

St. Theresa's Academy, Medicine Hat. 

Raymond Academy, Raymond. 

Seventh Day Adventists Academy, Lacombe. 

Ruthenian Monastery, Mundare. 

Montessori School, Calgary, 

Mountain School, Banff. 

Youville Convent, St. Albert. 

Notre Dame Convent, Morinville. 

Canadian Junior College, Lacombe. 



Private though these schools are, the courses of study and general 
training given are closely watched by the Government of the Province 
through the Department of Education. 

Mention has been made already of the attempt to establish a University 
for the North West Territories in 1891, and mention might be made of the 
Act passed by the Dominion Parliament in 1883, through the influence of 
Bishop McLean, to incorporate the University of Saskatchewan, but 
which was never carried out. In 1903 the Legislative Assembly passed 
an ordinance incorporating the University of the North West Territories. 
Owing to numerous applications from different denominational bodies to 
the Assembly of the North West Territories for the incorporation of Col- 
leges with power to grant degrees, the Hon. F. W. G. Haultain introduced 
a bill that passed the Assembly, providing for the establishment of one 
University — the University of the North West Territories — to prevent the 
evils of sectional competition among educational institutions for power 
to grant University degrees. 

Nothing was done, however, in effecting the organization of the Uni- 
versity before the formation of Alberta and Saskatchewan into separate 
Provinces. But in the first session of the Legislative Assembly of Al- 
berta, in 1906, Hon. A. C. Rutherford, Premier and Minister of Educa- 
tion, following the policy of Mr. Haultain, introduced a bill providing for 
the incorporation and establishment of the University of Alberta. 

The Act became effective in 1907 by an amendment authorizing the 
Government to appoint a President and to proceed with the organization 
of the University. Dr. Henry Marshall Tory, of McGill University, as- 
sumed the duties of President on January 1st, 1908. Voting for the first 
Senate by the members of the Convocation on March 18th, 1908, and im- 
mediately the Government appointed its representatives to that body, as 
provided by the Act of incorporation. Hon. C. A. Stuart was elected 
Chancellor and the first Senate meeting was held on March 30th. A 
faculty of Arts and Sciences was established and the President author- 
ized to engage four professors to prepare for opening classes in the fol- 
lowing September. On September 23rd, the University commenced teach- 
ing in the rooms of one of the public schools in the then City of Strathcona, 
the place chosen by the Government of the Province in the previous year 
for the location of the University. The registration was forty-five students. 

At the second session of the Legislature, 1910, the Legislation of 1906 
was repealed, and a new University Act passed embodying important 
changes in the organization. The financial and administrative functions 
were separated from the academic functions, the former deputed to a 
Board of Governors, appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, 
and the latter to the Senate, which consists of ten members elected by 
convocation, and certain ex-officio members stipulated in the Act. 


The first building, Athabaska Hall, on the University" Campus, was 
completed in July, 1911, and here the fourth session of the University 
began. A new building, Assiniboia Hall, was completed in 1913. A third 
building, Pembina Hall, was completed in time for the opening in 1914. 
These buildings are now used as University residences. 

The contract for the main teaching building, the Arts Building of the 
University, was let in December, 1913. It is a fine structure in the neo- 
classic style, and was completed in 1915. During the period of the war, 
building was suspended. But in 1919 building commenced again to keep 
pace with wonderful expansion of the work of the University and the 
popular demands made for its services. A Civil Engineering unit was 
added that year. In 1920 work was commenced and completed in the 
following year, on the Medical Building — a splendid structure in archi- 
tectural harmony with the Arts Building close by. 

The Faculty of Law was established in 1912 and enlarged into a 
School of Law in 1922. 

Civil Engineering was separated from the Faculty of Arts and Sci- 
ences in 1913, and constituted a separate faculty. In the same year the 
Faculty of Medicine was organized, providing for three years' training 
out of a course of five years, the fourth and fifth years to be completed 
at approved Universities in Eastern Canada. In 1922 the University ac- 
quired one of the Municipal Hospitals of the City of Edmonton, which 
by an agreement executed in 1913 between the City and the University, 
had been built on the University Grounds, and thus completed its equip- 
ment for giving a full course in Medicine, The course has been extended 
to six years. 

The Faculty of Agriculture was established in 1915. A large portion 
of the University Park was set aside for farm buildings and experimental 
plots. Land adjacent to the University Park has been acquired to meet 
the needs of this important department of the work of the University. 
This Faculty is more closely related to the fundamental industry of the 
Province than any other in the whole institution. Successful experiments 
have been carried on under Dean Howes and Professor Cutler for a num- 
ber of years in developing new varieties of cereal grains, clovers and corn 
particularly adapted to the soil, climate and moisture conditions of 

A Faculty of Commerce, and a Faculty of Agricultural Engineering 
were established in 1921, and in the same year the Faculty of Law was 
enlarged to a School of Law. 

Since 1912 the University has conducted an Extension Department 
which provides many of the benefits of the University for the people of 
the towns, villages and rural districts remote from the capital. This de- 
partment provides lecturers, briefs on all kinds of useful subjects, sup- 
plies material for debating clubs and literary societies. Under its aus- 
pices, high school debating leagues have been organized in the principal 




High Schools of the Provinces, which have stimulated a remarkable in- 
terest in the discussion of academic questions, current problems, in argu- 
mentation and public speaking. 

In conformity with the general policy of the Provincial University of 
controlling degree conferring powers, provision has been made by the 
Act, through the Senate, for the affiliation of any institution or college 
established to promote the teaching of useful knowledge. Such institu- 
tions may present students for examinations leading to a degree in the 
University, and upon passing the same tests as are required by the Uni- 
versity are entitled to a degree. On this basis the Medical Association, 
Dental Association, Architects' Association, Chartered Accountants' Asso- 
ciation, Osteopathic Association, Alberta Law Society, and the Alberta 
Land Surveyors' Association have all been brought under the control of the 
University. Three of the principal religious denominations are affiliated 
with the University, namely : Alberta College South, the theological school 
of the Methodist Church in Alberta, in 1908; Robertson College, the theo- 
logical college of the Presbyterian Church in Alberta, founded by the 
General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, in 1910; St. 
Aidan's College, operating under the Synod of the Anglican Diocese of 
Edmonton, by resolution of the Senate, May 15th, 1919. 

Under the regulations of the Senate several preparatory schools and 
colleges which send students up for the matriculation examinations of 
the University are affiliated with the University. At the present time the 
list includes : 

Western Canada College, Calgary. 

Alberta College, Edmonton. 

Mount Royal College, Calgary. 

Alberta College (North), Edmonton. 

The University School, Calgary. 

Llanarthey School for Girls, Edmonton. 
The location of the University of Alberta at Strathcona (now united 
with Edmonton) led to a strong movement in the City of Calgary for the 
establishment of a University in that city. A petition on behalf of cer- 
tain citizens of Calgary was presented to the Legislative Assembly of 
Alberta in 1910 praying for the incorporation of a University at Calgary. 
The charter proposed for the new University was in all essential features 
a copy of that granted to the Provincial University. In response to the 
petition the Assembly passed an Act incorporating the Calgary College, 
but withheld the power of granting degrees and the power to control ex- 
aminations governing admission to the learned professions. 

Application for University status was made on behalf of the Calgary 
College in 1911 and again in 1913. Decisive action was postponed until 
a report was prepared by the University Commission, which consisted of 
President Falconer of the University of Toronto, President Murray of the 
University of Saskatchewan, and President MacKenzie of Dalhousie Uni- 


versity. The Commission made a careful study of the whole University 
problem in Alberta, and finally decided along the principles expressed by 
Haultain and Rutherford years before, but recommended the establish- 
ment of an Institute of Technology and Art for the City of Calgary, with 
power to grant certificates and diplomas in technological subjects, and 
that the Institute be supported and controlled jointly by the City of Cal- 
gary and the Province. 

During the time that the agitation for a University in the City of 
Calgary was in progress, Calgary College was organized with a Board of 
Governors, Dr. T. H. Blow, Chairman, and W. T. Tregillus, Secretary. A 
small staff of instructors and lecturers were appointed, and over a quarter 
of a million was subscribed by wealthy citizens, and a gift of 575 acres 
of land was made, while the city corporation agreed to provide $150,000 
for a building. The war intervened and the college was abandoned. 

Following out the recommendation of the University Commission, the 
Government of the Province proceeded with the organization of the Insti- 
tute of Technology. During the war the building and staff of the Institute 
were loaned to the Federal Government for retraining ex-service men by 
the Soldiers' Civic Re-establishment Service. In October, 1920, the Insti- 
tute was returned to the Province. Meanwhile a new and more suitable 
building had been in the course of construction. This building was com- 
pleted in 1923, and Mr. W. G. Carpenter, Superintendent of Schools, 
Edmonton, was appointed first principal in November of the same year. 

The growth of the University of Alberta has been one of the out- 
standing movements in the history of the Province. Commencing in 1908, 
as has been previously pointed out, with 45 students and four professors, 
the registration in 1914 had increased to 400 students, with 17 professors 
and 26 lecturers. Today the registration is over 1,300 students, and the 
teaching staff consists of 100 professors and lecturers. In numbers and 
influence it ranks as one of the foremost institutions of learning in the 
Dominion of Canada, and has gained a high reputation in the United 
States. It has been recognized by the Rockefeller Foundation as worthy 
to participate in the funds administered by the Foundation for the promo- 
tion of better medical training, to the amount of $500,000. 

The University has been generously supported by the people through 
the Legislative Assembly, and ably organized by President Tory. On its 
professorial staff are scientists of international repute. Dr. J. B. Collip, 
of the staff of the Medical Faculty, shares with Professor Macleod, Dr. 
Banting and Dr. Best, of the University of Toronto, the honor of partici- 
pating in the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1923, for the discovery of in- 
sulin — the first Canadians to win this preeminent distinction. 



In this chapter it is purposed to deal with the subject as it affects the 
whole North-West. It is one that cannot be logically disjointed into 
geographical sections. 

The history of transportation has been the history of the develop- 
ment of Western Canada. Every improvement in transportation has re- 
sulted in an improvement in the comfort of the people, and in an increase 
of wealth. The railway has been the greatest factor in developing the 
country. The country stagnated until the railway crossed the plains 
in the early eighties. Alberta was the last province of the plains to get 
the railway and was, therefore, the last to reap the benefits of the epoch- 
making change. If one reads the early newspapers of the province — The 
Edmonton Bulletin, the Macleod Gazette or the Lethbridge News — papers 
published before the railways came to Alberta, little difference will be 
found in the description of the life and occupations of the inhabitants 
from the conditions described by Henry and Harmon nearly a century 

The history of transportation in the North-West begins with the 
canoe and Indian travois — the dog travois and the horse travois — and 
progresses from one form to another until it evolves into the navigation 
of the air by the aeroplane. 

It is a peculiar thing that the Indians never developed the rudiments 
of engineering science. As far as we have been able to find there is no 
record of the Indians of the plains ever having constructed a bridge or 
built a road on the prairies. Consequently when the first traders invaded 
the West, the only highways of travel were the rivers or the rude Indian 

In dealing with the subject it will be convenient to treat in the first 
place of the various means and methods of transportation and in the sec- 
ond place with the trade routes of the West from the earliest times. The 
first means of conveying the furs and peltries of the interior to the sea- 
board and carrying back the merchandise to exchange therefor was, of 
course, the canoe. 

There were three kinds of canoes used in the fur trade in the com- 
merce of Western Canada — the Montreal canoe, the North canoe and 
the Indian or express canoe. The Montreal canoes were used by the 
North West Company on the lakes as far as Fort William. They were 



too large and cumbersome for the interior trade and too heavy to carry- 
over the portages, requiring four men. They carried twice as large a 
cargo as the North canoe and v^ere paddled by 14 to 16 voyageurs. 

The North canoe was the ideal craft of the summer voyageur, the uni- 
versal idol of its day. It was a light, graceful vessel of about 36 feet long 
and 50 inches to 6 feet broad, made of birch bark sewn with vegetable 
fibre and well gummed with the gum of the yellow pine. It was gaudily 
painted on bow and stern with those mythical figures which superstitious 
boatmen believed increased its speed. In this fairy-like craft the traveler 
sped swiftly over the bosom of the lake, or the long reaches of the river, 
the bright vermilion paddles gleaming in the sunlight, the forests echoing 
to the measure of some weird boat song or the chansons of the voyageurs. 
A light canoe crossed the continent from Montreal to the mouth of the Co- 
lumbia River in 100 days. Loaded with fur, canoe brigades left Fort 
George on the Columbia about April 1st, and reached Fort William July 
1st. Remaining there for twenty days, they were back at the mouth of 
the Columbia again on October 20th, with the outfits for the winter trade. 
Sir George Simpson in his famous progress through the posts of Rupert's 
Land and the Columbia, in 1822, traveled from York Factory to the mouth 
of the Eraser River in ninety days, sixteen of which were spent at the 
various posts of the company. 

This was the first of Sir George's triumphal tours through the West. 
The people of the West have seen many distinguished excursions and 
entertained many visitors, but possibly no party that ever traveled through 
the country impressed the people of the day more than the Dictator of 
Rupert's Land did on this famous journey. 

The capacity of the canoes varied. Those that conveyed David Har- 
mon to the North-West in 1800 carried about two tons and were manned 
by six Canadians. However, the North canoe carried from 2,000 to 2,500 
pounds, three passengers, eight or nine voyageurs and provisions for a 

The Indian canoe was from 15 to 18 feet long, two and a half feet 
beam and would carry three men and provisions. It could be carried by 
one man. These canoes were used for rapid journeys by the officers of 
the fur companies or by special messengers and were called express ca- 
noes. Canoes dug out of poplar were frequently used by the Indians as 
well as by explorers and traders. Gabriel Franchere descended the 
Athabaska River in 1814 to Lac la Biche in a poplar dugout while others 
of his party had elks' skins stretched on wooden frames. 

It is not known exactly when York boats were first used by the Hudson's 
Bay Company, but when Simpson became governor of Rupert's Land, in 
1821, one of the first things he did was to investigate the methods of 
transportation. York boats were used in a limited way before this, how- 
ever, for Alexander Henry says he saw them on the Saskatchewan River 
in the early years of the 19th century, that would be about 1805 or 1807. 


At the meeting of the Council of Rupert's Land in 1823, it was decided 
to add York boats to the lines of travel. These boats effected the saving 
of one-half in the wages, and Simpson himself superintended the dispatch 
of a brigade of four boats from York Factory to the Athabaska by way of 
Nelson River. These boats were also called inland boats or Mackinaw 
boats. They were from 28 to 30 feet long. Manned by a steersman and 
eight men, they carried from 75 to 80 inland pieces, that is, packs of 90 
lbs. each. Their size and capacity was regulated by the Council of Ru- 
pert's Land. We find in the minutes of 1836 that the Council ordered that 
York boats should be 28 ft. long at least and should have a minimum 
capacity of 80 pieces. The goods and furs were packed this way because 
of the numerous portages which compelled the voyageurs to unload, and 
reload at every portage on the route. The packing of goods was an art in 
itself in the old days of the fur trade. One man generally carried two 
packs and there was great rivalry among the crews to see who could carry 
their packs over the long portage without setting them down on the way. 

After the union of the fur companies in 1821, Norway House became 
the chief distributing point for the North-West, or its chief base. It was 
to the West what Winnipeg is now — all traffic passed through this point 
to and from the whole interior. Goods were brought from England to 
York Factory in August and carefully packed into 90-pound bundles the 
following winter. In the spring they were conveyed by York boats to 
Norway House. Here they were stored in the warehouses until the 
following summer, when they were sent to the Athabaska and Mackenzie 
districts, via Portage la Loche, by the Red River brigade which also 
brought the farm and country produce of the Red River to Norway House. 
The brigade was met at Portage la Loche by the brigade from the north. 
The furs were carried over the 12-miIe portage at this point, where they 
were loaded and conveyed by the Red River brigade to York Factory. The 
merchandise for the Mackenzie outfits was also carried over the portage to 
be loaded in the boats or canoes that brought the furs to the western end of 
the portage. Before 1831 the brigades of the Athabaska used to carry 
their furs and boats over Portage la Loche, going all the way down to York 
Factory and back again with outfits. It was considered a great step in 
advance when it was decided to keep boats and canoes at each end of the 

Norway House was the point where many of the York boats were built. 
Rocky Mountain House was another point where these boats were built, on 
account of the abundance of spruce forests. Some were also built at 
Edmonton, the headquarters of the Saskatchewan Brigade. In 1835 
Chief Factor Rowand was ordered to supply 12 new boats. Usually 
6 to 10 boats were built every year at Edmonton. Every year about 
the end of May the brigade left Edmonton with furs, pemmican, dried 
meat and leather for Cumberland House and Norway House, where these 
supplies with similar supplies from the Red River were distributed to the 


northern and eastern posts not so favorably situated for a food supply. 
The brigade varied from year to year. In 1825, when Alexander Ross was 
returning from the Columbia, he went down to Norway House with the 
brigade from Edmonton. It consisted of 12 boats; but when Paul Kane 
went down in 1848, the brigade comprised 23 boats and 130 men. Some- 
times the boats were taken down with half crews and full crews were 
obtained on the return journey by using the recruits that were brought out 
from the Old Country from year to year to serve at the various posts on 
the Upper Saskatchewan and the Columbia. The journey to York Factory 
and return occupied about four and a half months. 

The minutes of the Council of Rupert's Land for 1833 contain special 
rules for loading. Seventy pieces was the smallest load ; ten pieces were 
allowed for each commissioned gentleman ; five pieces for first-class 
clerks ; three for postmasters and junior clerks, and one-third of the 
above allowances to cover the freight of private orders for the same 
classes remaining inland. 

At Norway House there was a chief transportation officer. He was a 
very important man and had a great task in regulating the Hudson's Bay 
time-table of the day. The movements of the brigades had to be so regu- 
lated that those starting from the points as far apart as Norway House 
on Lake Winnipeg and Fort McPherson on the Mackenzie, should meet 
within a day at Portage la Loche. When one considers the numerous 
portages (for example, there were 36 portages between Norway House ana 
York Factory along the Hayes River) the unceasing toil and labor, the 
feat becomes a marvel of human endurance, pluck and organization. There 
was great punctuality in the dispatch of the canoes and the boat brigades. 
This was necessary because of the early close of navigation on the northern 
lakes and rivers. A delay of a few days at Red River might mean starva- 
tion on the Mackenzie the following winter. The arrival of the brigades 
could be calculated with as much certainty as the freight train of today, 
and possibly with greater precision. The anxious trader might ascend 
his lookout post with the certainty of seeing, sweeping around the nearest 
point, the well-laden boats with their swarthy crews bending low to their 
oars and gaily singing to the measured stroke. 

But this was not the only problem the chief transportation officer en- 
countered. He and his staff had difficulty always in getting the crews 
organized. The company needed 500 men for the boat brigades and 3,000 
altogether for the trading season. The crews were generally half-breeds 
or Indians, careless, dissolute and irresponsible. The voyageurs gen- 
erally lived such a hand to mouth existence that the Company advanced 
their wages in the winter and when spring came they generally rebelled 
against working the following summer for the balance. Strikes were of 
frequent occurrence, and sometimes were settled by a good drubbing 
given by the chief factor himself or some of the special men. In fact. 


the difficulty of obtaining and controlling the crews was one of the causes 
that influenced the Company in adopting Red River carts. 

The next step in the evolution of transportation was the Red River 
cart. This vehicle was an invention of the Nor'-westers. Henry men- 
tions them when he was at Pembina in the early years of the last century. 
They were used by half-breeds in the great buffalo hunting trips. In 
1820 Alexander Ross placed the number in the Red River at 540. In 
the June hunt of 1840 there were 1,210 carts gathered at Pembina from 
every nook and corner of the Red River. The advance of settlement in 
Manitoba began to attract trade to Fort Garry, which then began to grow 
at the expense of Norway House and York Factory. In 1850 the Hud- 
son's Bay Company brought in their first goods by Red River carts from 
St. Paul. 

In 1856 a train of 500 carts left Winnipeg for St. Paul with wheat, 
tallow and beef, and brought back manufactured goods. The Hudson's 
Bay Company continued to send out its fur by Norway House and York 
Factory but the buffalo skins were sent out by carts to St. Paul. Fort 
Garry soon became the base for goods imported from the United States 
and Canada, and a separate warehouse was maintained outside the fort 
for Canadian and American goods. The trade grew rapidly, and it is 
estimated that the Hudson's Bay Company and petty traders operated at 
one time 1,500 carts between Winnipeg and St. Paul. The rate was 18s 
5d per 100 pounds. Each cart carried from 900 to 1,200 pounds and was 
drawn by an ox or Indian pony. For each of these carts there was one 
man, and a number of spare horses were always taken along to relieve 
the tired animals from time to time. The number of carts in a train 
sometimes consisted of several hundred. In that case the train was 
divided into brigades of ten carts each. The daily progress was from 
20 to 25 miles. 

The first carts in Alberta were brought by Rev. Father Lacombe in 
1862, with supplies for the mission at St. Albert. Five years later the 
Hudson's Bay Company brought in a train of 80 carts with goods for 
the posts and established a traffic which continued until steamboats began 
to operate on the Saskatchewan. In 1870 ten carts passed safely from 
Edmonton to Fort Benton with furs and brought back flour and whiskey. 
This was the first time it was ever deemed safe to pass through the coun- 
try of the Blackfeet. 

In 1859 steam navigation was inaugurated on the Red River. In 
June of that year the S. S. Anson Northrup steamed into Fort Garry from 
St. Peter's River, Minnesota. The success of this venture induced the Hud- 
son's Bay Company to build the S. S. International in 1862. She was 150 
feet long with 30 foot beam and drew two feet of water. She reached 
Winnipeg May 26, 1862. This steamer ran between Fort Garry and 
Georgetown, 200 miles farther up the river in the State of Minnesota. 
Messrs. Burbank & Company of St. Paul established a stage route between 


St. Paul and Georgetown, so that a trip could be made from Montreal 
to Fort Garry in twelve days. The Sioux massacre, in 1862, caused river 
traffic to languish for a number of years — in fact, until the Northern 
Pacific reached Moorhead in 1872 from Duluth. The success of the Inter- 
national induced others, notably James J. Hill, N. W. Kitson, Donald A. 
Smith and James Ashdown to engage in the river transportation business. 
The steamers Selkirk, Manitoba and Minnesota soon became strong com- 
petitors with the Hudson's Bay steamer. 

The S. S. Commissioner was the first steamer to ply on the Red River 
below Winnipeg and by 1883 there were 19 steamers operating on the Red 
and Assiniboine Rivers, on Lake Winnipeg and on the Saskatchewan 
River. The S. S. Colville plied between Winnipeg and Grand Rapids, mak- 
ing the round trip of 350 miles in five days. There were also eight freight 
steamers and seventeen barges on the Red River. Two steamers plied 
between Winnipeg, Brandon and Fort Ellice and at high water Fort Pelly 
was reached. The round trip of 700 miles to Pelly was scheduled to take 
21 days. Six steamers operated on the Saskatchewan River from Grand 
Rapids to Blackfoot Crossing on the South Branch and to Edmonton on 
the North Branch. A short railway of five miles was built by the Hud- 
son's Bay Company in the early seventies to portage the steamers from 
Lake Winnipeg to the navigable waters of the Saskatchewan above Grand 
Rapids. The principal steamers on the Saskatchewan were S. S. North- 
cote, S. S. Northwest, S. S. Marquis, S. S. Lily, S. S. Manitoba, S. S. 
Princess. The pioneer was the Northcote. She was on the Saskatche- 
wan in 1871 and came as far as Edmonton for the first time in July, 1875, 
with supplies and mail for the detachment of the North West Mounted 
Police. The Lily was a steel hull brought to the Red River in parts from 
England by the Hudson's Bay Company and there put together. She 
operated on the South Branch as far as Medicine Hat. She was finally 
sunk below Saskatchewan Landing. Other steamers were the S. S. Al- 
berta, S. S. Baroness and S. S. Minnow. These were small but power- 
ful river boats owned by the Gait Coal Company of Lethbridge and 
carried coal from the Lethbridge mines down the Belly River and the 
Saskatchewan to Medicine Hat. The Baroness made a trip to Edmonton 
in the spring of the Rebellion of 1885. The Minnow was purchased by 
Lamoureux Bros, of Fort Sasketchewan and operated on the North Sas- 
katchewan between Edmonton and Battleford. The first steamers on 
the Saskatchewan belonged to the Hudson's Bay Company, used to carry 
only the Company's merchandise to its various posts. After 1880 the Com- 
pany opened the traffic to all traders and did a general transportation 
business, until the boats were taken over by the Winnipeg and Western 
Transportation Company. The Company spent considerable sums of 
money to improve navigation on the North Saskatchewan and was able 
to induce the Federal Government to supplement its expenditures in this 



mUi r 


.4SS II li 11 

. I ,^^J II 11 n 




respect. Up to 1884 over $21,000.00 had been expended by the Govern- 
ment and the Hudson's Bay Company. 

The Hudson's Bay Company was also the pioneer of steamboat 
transportation on the northern rivers, Athabaska, Peace, Slave and Mac- 
kenzie. The S. S. Grahame was built at Athabaska Landing in 1882 by 
Captain Smith. The S. S. Wrigley was built at Fort Smith in 1887. 
Other steamers, the S. S. Athabaska, S. S. Peace River, S. S. Slave River, 
S. S. Mackenzie River followed in due course, operating from Hudson's 
Hope on the Upper Peace River to Fond du Lac at the east end of Lake 
Athabaska, down the Mackenzie River to Fort McPherson and up the 
Liard River to Fort Nelson. 

In 1908 the Northern Transportation Company entered the North and 
established a fleet of steamers, viz., S. S. Northland Echo, S. S. North- 
land Call, S. S, Northland Sun and S. S. Northland Star. These steamers 
operated on the Athabaska River and on Lesser Slave Lake. The North- 
ern Sun plied between Grouard and Saulteau Landing to connect with the 
Northland Echo and the Northland Call. About 1910 the Alberta Arctic 
Transportation Company placed the S. S. D. A. Thomas and S. S. Dis- 
tributor, and S. S. B. C. Express on the Peace, Athabaska and Slave 
rivers. The discovery of oil by the Imperial Oil Company in the summer 
of 1920 stimulated interest in the riches of the North and many new 
sailing, steam and gasoline boats were added to the river traffic to carry 
the machinery, supplies, merchandise and passengers bound for the new 

It is interesting to note that the S. S. Grahame, during the first season 
it was operated, made a trip up the Clearwater carrying an excursion 
party of 150 Indians, comprising Dogribs, Slaves, Chipewyans and Eski- 
mos. They were greatly impressed with the engineer and regarded him 
as a son of the Great Spirit. But it is questionable if these natives were 
more impressed on this occasion than were many of the people of Edmon- 
ton who witnessed on the 27th of July, 1920, four De Havilands fly out of 
the East from New York, which took no more actual flying time to make 
that long journey than it took a canoe to come from Fort Saskatchewan 
to Edmonton a century ago. 

Historical reference to the subject of steamboat transportation in the 
North-West would be incomplete without allusion to the Dawson Route 
from Lake Superior to the Red River. As we have seen in the earlier 
chapters the first highway from Canada to the North- West was by the 
Old Canoe Route of the French Canadian explorers and fur traders, and 
the voyageurs of the North West Company. After the abandonment of 
the Canoe Route in 1821 there was no direct route from Canada. The 
North-West was reached indirectly from Canada via York Factory or 
through the United States via St. Paul and the Red River. 

In 1867 Fort Garry became the port of entry and the Hudson's Bay 
Route speedily fell in importance. The people of older Canada were now 


beginning- to take an interest in the development of the West. They were 
familiar with the outcome of the investigation by the British parliament- 
ary committee of 1857 and knew that it was but a few years until the 
Hudson's Bay Company would be forced to surrender its rights and 
powers in the West. Anticipating the future, the Canadian Government 
sent out two distinguished explorers — S, J. Dawson and Henry Youle 
Hind. These two men made an elaborate report on the resources of 
Western Canada which created a profound impression among the public 
men of the older parts of our Dominion. It was natural, therefore, that 
the Government of Canada should seek a highway on Canadian territory 
into the North-West. This desire led to the construction of the famous 
Dawson Route. The engineers of the Canadian Government rec- 
ommended the use of boats on the water stretches, instead of canoes, as 
well as the construction of a wagon road from Thunder Bay to Lake She- 
bandowan and from Lake of the Woods to Fort Garry on the western 
end. A part of this road was constructed by the Wolseley expedition in 
1870. Eventually this route opened for traffic and an emigration trans- 
portation service opened in 1871. The route was as follows: (a) By 
steamer to Fort William; (b) by wagon from Fort William to Sheban- 
dowan, 45 miles; (c) by open boat from Shebandowan to Lake of the 
Woods, 310 miles; (d) by wagon from Lake of the Woods to Fort Garry, 
95 miles. 

In 1872 steam launches superseded the open boats and later two snug 
steamers 100 and 120 feet long were placed on Rainy River and Lake of 
the Woods. This amphibious line was the precursor of the C. P. R. and 
continued in existence until 1876, when the contract respecting emigrant 
transportation was cancelled. Passengers and freight left Thunder Bay 
three times a week or daily if necessary. The time for the conveyance 
of passengers was not to exceed 10 or 12 days and for freight 15 to 20 
days. Houses and tents were prepared along the way for the accommo- 
dation of the travellers. The fare from Thunder Bay to Fort Garry was 
$10.00, general freight $2.00 per 100 pounds, household furniture $3.00 
per hundred pounds. Needless to say, this route was never popular. 
There were too many portages. 

Steamship transportation continued on the Red River and on the Sas- 
katchewan until the advent of the railway. On December 3rd, 1878, the 
last spike was driven in the Pembina branch of the C. P. R. which con- 
nected with the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba at St. Vincent, Min- 
nesota. This gave the North-West direct railway communication with 
the outside world for the first time. 

The story of the construction of railway connection with the Red 
River is one of the greatest interest to Canadians. After years of high 
financing and gambling, certain American railway promoters became in- 
volved in an inextricable muddle in promoting the St. Paul and Pacific 
and the Northern Pacific. At this stage Donald A. Smith, George Ste- 


phen, N. W. Kitson and James J. Hill came on the scene. They obtained 
the depreciated stock at prices varying from 11 to 70 cents per $1.00 of the 
par value. The new company was organized under the name of the St. 
Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway. These four men by their splen- 
did courage furnished a lesson in finance that the people of Canada may 
point to with pride for generations to come. It was the success of these 
men in this venture that enabled them to take up the Canadian Pacific 
Railway and give Canada its first transcontinental railway. 

The contract of the C. P. R. was signed October 24, 1880, from Cal- 
lendar on Lake Nipissing in Ontario, to Port Moody, in British Columbia. 
By 1883 the railway reached the Province! of Alberta. As the head of 
the steel moved westward trading by carts was revived. The weekly 
issues of the Edmonton Bulletin in the early '80s regularly report the 
arrival of carts or sleighs from the head of steel, with goods for the 
Edmonton merchants and the Hudson's Bay Company. 

The railway reached Calgary in September, 1883, and a stage line was 
established between that point and Edmonton. The Edmonton Bulletin 
of August 4, 1883, contained the announcement of the stage line, as 
follows : "Edmonton and Calgary stage, making weekly trips between 
said points, leaves Jasper House, Edmonton, at nine and the steamboat 
dock at 9 :30 every Monday morning, stopping at Peace Hills, Battle River, 
Red Deer Crossing and Willow Creek and arriving at Calgary on Friday. 
Returning leaves Calgary Monday, stopping at same places, and arrives 
at Edmonton on Friday. Fare each way, $25.00 ; 100 pounds baggage 
allowed ; express matter 10 cents per pound. First stage leaves Edmon- 
ton on Monday, August 6th. Edmonton office in Jasper House. Calgary 
office in Hudson's Bay Company store. D. MacLeod, Proprietor." 

In many respects this was one of the most interesting lines of trans- 
portation in the whole province. Many people are still living who were 
familiar with the celebrated stopping places at Chamberlain's, Scarlett's, 
The Lone Pine, Miller's at the Spruces 10 miles south of the Red Deer 
River, Blindman, Barnett's, Bear's Hill, Boggy Plain, Edmonton, where 
the traveller arrived on the fifth day from Calgary. It continued until 
the Calgary and Edmonton Railway reached Strathcona July 27, 1891, 

The railway with its branches to Prince Albert and Edmonton, was 
the death blow to the steamboat traffic on the Saskatchewan River, al- 
though in 1886 the steamboats were still competing with the railroad in 
carrying freight to Edmonton and were giving a cheaper rate. It cost 
$2.50 per hundred pounds to bring flour by the railway and stage route, 
while it cost only $1.80 to bring it by steamboat. On general merchandise, 
the rate by rail and stage was $4.50, compared with $2.90 by steamboat. 
As late as 1896 the S. S. Northwest arrived at Edmonton with 1,000 sacks 
of flour. 

Other means of transportation that should be briefly referred to are 
the dog sleigh or cariole, the pack train, the Indian travois, the bull train 


and the Concord coach. The dog trains were used in winter to bring the 
fur from the outlying posts to the central depots, and also for the winter 
express. In the days of the North West Company this express generally 
left the Athabaska in December and reached Fort William or Sault Ste. 
Marie some time in March. In later years, during the supremacy of 
the Hudson's Bay Company, the winter express left Fort Garry, going 
by Norway House, Cumberland House, Fort a la Corne, and calling at 
the various posts until it reached the far-off Mackenzie. The dog in the 
North was and is to a great extent what the camel is in the desert. Dog 
sleigh was the fastest method in winter and the writings of early travel- 
lers contain many fascinating stories on this subject. A fine description 
of a trip by dog sleigh is found in Paul Kane's book, "The Wanderings of 
an Artist." It was the wedding trip of Miss Harriott, daughter of Chief 
Factor Harriott, and John Rowand in charge of Fort Pitt, son of the 
famous Chief Factor who ruled over Fort Edmonton so long. The trip 
was made down the river to Fort Pitt in three days in very stormy 
weather, Christmas, 1848. The party killed and consumed seventeen 
buffalo on the way down. Reference has been made in a former chapter 
to the journey of Chief Factor Christie in 1873 from Fort Simpson to 
Winnipeg to attend a meeting of the North West Council, by dog sleigh. 

The dog is the oldest beast of burden on the plains. The Indians used 
him before the horse, as will be seen from their language. The Black- 
foot word for dog is "amita." The word for red deer is "Ponoko," the 
word for horse is "ponokamitan," which means "the red deer dog." The 
Sarcees derived a better name for the horse, for they called it "the seven 
dogs," that is, it was as big and strong as seven dogs. Henry saw 230 
dog travois at Fort Vermilion in 1810. 

Horses were used by the early travellers, such as Thompson, Henry 
and others, in making rapid journeys on their exploration trips. About 
the middle of the century there were a great many horses kept at Ed- 
monton to outfit the pack trains to transport the goods to the mountains 
and thence to the Columbia department. 

The open plains of Southern Alberta gave rise to a different method 
of transportation from that which was used in the northern and wooded 
parts of the province. This was the famous bull team method. It was 
introduced into Alberta by the American traders from Montana and ex- 
tensively used by I. G. Baker & Company in conveying freight and sup- 
plies to the trading posts and to the posts of the North West Mounted 
Police south of the Bow River. This firm used wagons of very large 
size, called "Prairie Schooners." Three wagons were generally hitched 
together and carried from 10,000 to 15,000 pounds of freight. The first 
wagon carried 6,000 pounds, the second one 5,000 and the third one 3,000 
pounds. The whole train was hauled by ten or twelve yoke of oxen. The 
wagons were neatly covered with a canvas tent and brought the goods to 
their destination in perfect condition. Sometimes these ox-trains 


travelled in brigades of ten to a brigade and were generally accompanied 
by cooks and mess wagons. A brigade or more of these ox-trains was an 
impressive sight as it picked its slow and regular way over the prairie. 
By this means coal was hauled from the Gait mines at Lethbridge to Cal- 
gary by a sixteen-ox team. Only once did one of these trains try the trail 
between Calgary and Edmonton, It comprised nine teams, six yoke of 
oxen in each, hauling two wagons, each loaded with 7,000 pounds. The 
train reached Edmonton June 24, 1885, with supplies for the Alberta 
Field Force. 

But to show that ambition and resourcefulness are still a quality of 
the men of Alberta, the reader's attention is directed to the case of Ralph 
Moorehouse, of Vulcan, Alberta, who, in December, 1922, loaded 1,444 
bushels of wheat in eight tank wagons and hauled this immense load in 
one train twenty-two miles, by twenty horses and ten mules, the length 
over all (teams and wagons) being 245 feet. The load filled a car and 
is possibly the largest load ever drawn by horses or oxen in the history 
of the West. 

Passenger traffic in Southern Alberta was carried on by the well 
known Concord coaches. The Mounted Police used buckboards and spring 

Having dealt with the means of transportation, it remains to refer 
briefly to the routes of transportation and the main highways of the 
fur trade before the advent of the railway. Mention has been made of 
the Old Canoe Route via Fort William, Rainy River, Lake of the Woods 
and Winnipeg River, of the route by York Factory and Norway House 
and of the route via St. Paul down the Red River. All these routes finally 
led to the Saskatchewan River. Whether the traveller's journey was to 
the far-off Athabaska and the Mackenzie, to the foothills of Alberta or 
to the regions across the Rocky Mountains, a long lap of the journey 
was necessarily made on the lower Saskatchewan River. The route to 
the Athabaska branched from the Saskatchewan River at Cumberland 
House, up the Sturgeon-Weir River to a series of lakes known as Heron, 
Pelican and Woody lakes within a short distance of the Churchill River. 
Here there was a short portage called Frog Portage, which was long 
known as "The Doorway to the Great North." The Churchill River led 
to He a la Crosse Lake, Buffalo Lake and Lake la Loche. This brought 
the trader within a short distance of Clearwater River as we now know 
it, and at this point the voyageur found his heaviest portage. This was 
known in the fur trade as the Long Portage — Port La Loche, and is now 
marked on the maps as Methy Portage. After crossing this portage the 
voyageur cast his canoe into the Clearwater, the first river on his journey 
flowing west, which brought him into connection with the great water- 
way system of the North. This route was used for many years until the 
Hudson's Bay Company began using ox carts between Fort Carlton and 
Green Lake. At Green Lake the goods were transferred to boats or 


canoes and thence down the Beaver River to Lake He a la Crosse where 
the new route joined the old route, via Cumberland House and Churchill 
River. As soon as the navigability of the Saskatchewan was demon- 
strated, the Hudson's Bay Company adopted another route to these 
northern posts. By this route steamers brought the goods up the Sas- 
katchewan, past Carlton House to Frog Lake Creek, 180 miles west of 
Carlton. The goods were here transferred to ox carts and carried fifty 
miles overland to the Beaver River which, as we have noted above, flows 
into Lake He a la Crosse and so on by the Methy Portage to the waters of 
the North. 

We have already seen the effect of the construction of the Canadian 
Pacific Railway on steamboat traffic and have to add that the construc- 
tion of this railway caused another change in the route of transportation 
to the Hudson's Bay posts in the North. After 1883 the main highway to 
the North was from Edmonton overland to Athabaska Landing, by ox 
cart, wagon or other conveyance, where connection was made with the 
Hudson's Bay steamers and the Athabaska, Peace, and Mackenzie River 

Until the early sixties the North Saskatchewan was the highway to 
the British Columbia departments of the Hudson's Bay Company, though 
some of the goods for New Caledonia were sent over the mountains by 
the Peace River. In the early years of the 19th century the main line 
of travel lay up the Saskatchewan to Rocky Mountain House and thence 
to the Columbia River by Howse Pass. This route was used several times, 
as we have already seen, by David Thompson. The Howse Pass was soon 
abandoned for the Athabaska Pass. The point of departure from the 
Saskatchewan was Fort Edmonton, from where the trade route lay over- 
land to Fort Assiniboine and up the Athabaska. Thus Edmonton became 
a point where there was a break in the line of transportation and conse- 
quently grew into an important trading centre. When trading vessels 
began to round Cape Horn the transcontinental trade of the Hudson's 
Bay Company up the Saskatchewan was destroyed and Edmonton lost 
its importance as a trading and distributing depot. To increase the 
destruction, American traders pushing up the Missouri to Fort Benton 
drew the powerful Blackfeet nation from the Hudson's Bay posts where 
they had traded for over half a century and the glory of the Saskatche- 
wan was gone forever. 

The story of transportation would be incomplete without reference 
to the old trails of the Indians and the traders. Many of the railway 
lines and trunk routes of to-day follow some of the old Indian trails. 
For example, the railway lines west of Edmonton to the Yellowhead 
Pass follow the old trail of the Mountain Stoneys. The road of the 
Canadian Northern Railway from Edmonton to Calgary follows the 
Blackfeet trail from the Great Plains to Edmonton and the Canadian 
Pacific, the Grand Trunk Pacific and the Canadian Northern main lines 


from Edmonton to Winnipeg conform in a general way to the trails of 
the Plain Crees. After traversing this section of the West the railway- 
lines running north of Edmonton follow some of the most important 
trails of the Wood Crees. A number of Indian trails constituted such 
desirable roads that provision was made in the North West Territories 
Act of 1875 to have them surveyed and maintained as permanent high- 

The use of the Red River carts opened up a number of important 
trails from Fort Garry westward to the Hudson's Bay posts and settle- 
ments on the upper Saskatchewan. The most important, and one of the 
most travelled of these overland highways ran from Fort Garry to Fort 
Ellice, passing the White Horse Plains, Portage la Prairie, crossing the 
Little Saskatchewan River and Bird Tail Creek, From Fort Ellice the 
trail ran northwestward through the Little and Big Touchwood hills, 
past Quill Lake and over Salt Plains to the South Saskatchewan, where 
crossings were made at different points but principally at Gabriels' and 
Clarke's Crossing. The next point on the trail was Fort Carlton on the 
North Saskatchewan. From this point it lay through the Thickwood 
Hills, past Jackfish Lake and Frenchman's Butte to Fort Pitt. From 
Fort Pitt it connected with Victoria and thence into Fort Edmonton. 
It was along this overland route that the first railway surveys were made 
with a view to building a transcontinental railway. Most of the old- 
timers in Northern Alberta came over this trail. It is now regarded as 
a true test of the old-timer that he was either born in Alberta previous 
to 1880 or entered the province by the old cart trail from Fort Garry 
via Carlton and Fort Pitt. 

The work of surveying the old trails in the North West Territories 
was commenced in 1885 and completed in 1888. The most important in 
Alberta are as follows: (1) Calgary to Edmonton. (2) Calgary to Mac- 
leod. (3) Blackfoot Crossing to Fort Macleod. (4) Fort Walsh to Medi- 
cine Hat. (5) Blackfoot Crossing to Calgary. (6) Calgary to Morley 
north of the Bow River. (7) Calgary to Morley south of the Bow River. 
(8) The Bow River Trail along the Bow River bottom, near Calgary, 
from Dunbow at the mouth of High River to the northeast corner of 
section 35, township 23, range 1, west fifth meridian. By 0. C. Septem- 
ber 17, 1889, these trails were transferred by the Dominion Government 
to the Government of the North West Territories. 

Railway extensions in Alberta soon followed the construction of the 
main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1885 the Alberta Railway 
& Coal Company, afterwards known as the Alberta Railway & Irriga- 
tion Company, built a line from Dunmore, on the main line of the 
Canadian Pacific Railway, to liCthbridge, 107 miles, receiving a grant 
therefor of 3,840 acres of land per mile. Five years later the road was 
extended to the International Boundary Line at Coutts, Montana, a 
distance of 65 miles, and shortly afterwards an extension was made by 


this Company from Stirling to Cardston, 67 miles. In 1893 the Canadian 
Pacific Railway, in order to forestall the building of competitive branches 
of the Great Northern Railway into Southern Alberta, acquired by lease 
the road from Dunmore to Lethbridge, purchasing the same in 1897 and 
extended it westward through the Crow's Nest Pass to connect with the 
C. P. R. extensions in Southern British Columbia. 

The railway from Calgary to Edmonton was completed to the south 
bank of the North Saskatchewan River, opposite Edmonton, on August 
27, 1891, by the Calgary and Edmonton Railway Company. Next year 
the same Company built the railway southward to Macleod, reaching that 
point November 3, 1892. The Company received a land subsidy of 6,400 
acres per mile for the mileage between Edmonton and Calgary. The road 
was immediately leased to the Canadian Pacific Railway, and has been 
operated by this Company since that time. For the next fifteen years 
there was little or no railway building in the Province, but when settlers 
began to come in large numbers, in the beginning of the century, rail- 
ways were extended year by year. 

In 1906 construction was commenced from Wetaskiwin, on the Cal- 
gary and Edmonton Railway, eastward to meet an extension from Lani- 
gan westward. This line was completed in 1910, giving the Company 
a direct line from Edmonton to Winnipeg, and to Moose Jaw and St. 
Paul. A branch from Lacombe to Stettler was completed in 1906, and 
by 1914 was extended to Kerrobert, giving improved railway connections 
with Central and Northern Alberta. A cut-off from Calgary to Leth- 
bridge was completed in 1911 via Aldersyde and Kipp, and an alternate 
line between Calgary and Swift Current was secured by the Bassano- 
Empress cut-off in 1914. A great steel bridge built over the North 
Saskatchewan River at Edmonton in 1913, gave access by the Company's 
line to Edmonton thirty years later than the old-timers of the place hoped 
to have witnessed this event. 

Other branches were built as follows: Coronation to Lorraine, 19 
miles, 1914; Suffield to Lomond, 84 miles, 1914. The charter of the 
Alberta Central Railway from Red Deer to Lochearn, 64 miles, was ac- 
quired in 1912, and construction completed. 

The most important extensions in recent years by the Canadian Pa- 
cific Railway have been the acquisition by lease of the Edmonton, Dun- 
vegan and British Columbia Railway from Edmonton to Grande Prairie, 
400 miles, and of the Canada Central Railway from McLennan to Peace 
River, 48 miles, in 1920, and to Berwyn, 25 miles, in 1921. By the ex- 
tension of these railways, 3,000 miles of lake and river navigation of the 
Peace and Mackenzie River valleys are linked up with three transcon- 
tinental railway systems. A second connection is secured by the Alberta 
and Great Waterways Railway, built by the Government of Alberta from 
Edmonton to Fort McMurray, 296 miles. 

The rapid settlement of Western Canada attracted a competitor in 

Merchants Bank of Canada 

Bank of British North America 

National Trust Company Building Royal Bank of Canada 



the field of railway construction. This was the celebrated firm of railway 
contractors, Messrs. McKenzie & Mann. Welcomed by the people as 
deliverers from what they imagined to be a monopoly of the pioneer rail- 
way Company of the West, Messrs. McKenzie & Mann found little diffi- 
culty in building railroads by the system of Government guarantees, and 
organized the Canadian Northern Railway Company. In 1903 assistance 
was granted by the Dominion Parliament to the Canadian Northern Rail- 
way Company to extend the Company's line from Grandview, Manitoba, 
to Edmonton, a distance of 670 miles. The nature of this assistance was 
a guarantee of principal and interest of first mortgage bonds to the ex- 
tent of $13,000 per mile, the principal repayable in 50 years. The road 
was completed to Edmonton in November, 1905. Then Edmonton be- 
came a competitive shipping point with Calgary and began to acquire 
modern commercial importance. 

By 1916 this road, which provided a third transcontinental railway 
for Canada, was completed to Vancouver via the Yellow Head Pass and 
the valley of the North Thompson River, thus giving Edmonton direct 
connection with Vancouver on the survey made by the C. P. R. in 1872. 

Branch lines throughout the Province, with the assistance of Provin- 
cial guarantee of bonds soon followed : Edmonton to Athabaska, 1909 ; 
Tofield to Calgary, 1912 ; Calgary to Saskatoon, 1912 ; Edmonton to St. 
Paul, 1920 ; Camrose to Alliance, 1920. 

Under an agreement, dated July 24, 1903, and ratified by the Parlia- 
ment of Canada October 24 of the same year, the Grand Trunk Pacific 
Railway Company agreed with the Government of Canada to construct 
a railway from Winnipeg to the Pacific Coast, via Edmonton and the 
Yellow Head Pass, to be known as the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. 
This road formed the Western Division of the second Canadian transcon- 
tinental railway, the termini of which were Moncton, N. B., and Prince 
Rupert, B. C. The Eastern Division from Winnipeg to Moncton was 
known as the National Transcontinental Railway, and was built by the 
Government of Canada. The Government of Canada guaranteed the 
principal and interest of three per cent first mortgage bonds of the Grand 
Trunk Pacific Railway, payable in 50 years at the rate of $13,000 per mile 
on the Prairie Section of the Western Division — Winnipeg to Wolf Creek, 
a distance of 914 miles. On the Mountain Section of this Division — Wolf 
Creek to Prince Rupert, B. C. — the guarantee was for 75 per cent of the 
cost of construction. By September 13, 1909, the road was opened for 
traffic between Winnipeg and Edmonton, and to Wolf Creek, 118 miles 
west of Edmonton, in February, 1910. Four years later, April, 1914, 
the first through train from Winnipeg to Prince Rupert arrived at the 
latter point, thus completing the Western Division of the second trans- 
continental railway company of Canada. 

Meanwhile a subsidiary company, the Grand Trunk Pacific Branch 
Lines Company, was organized to construct feeders to the main line in 


Alberta. This Company, supported by guarantees of principal and in- 
terest from the Provincial Government, built a branch from Tofield to 
Calgary and from Bickerdike to the coal fields in the foothills between 
the Athabaska and North Saskatchewan rivers. 

Between Edmonton and the Yellow Head Pass the Grand Trunk Pa- 
cific and the Canadian Northern Railway traversed the same territory, 
running in many places only a few yards or rods apart. After the de- 
fault of both Companies in the payment of the interest guarantees in 
1917, the two main lines and the branch lines of each were taken over 
by the Government of Canada and the two railway systems were consoli- 
dated into one system. Owing to the useless duplication of lines between 
Edmonton and the Yellow Head Pass and on account of the need of steel 
rails for war purposes, the rails were lifted from different sections of 
each roadbed and the remaining sections connected, making a single line 
of railway from Edmonton to the Rocky Mountains. Thus over $8,000,- 
000 of public money was wasted by the jealousy of railway corporations 
and the misguided benevolence of the Canadian Parliament. 


Telegraph service was established in Western Canada in 1871, when 
extensions from the State of Minnesota reached Fort Garry and com- 
munication of this form was opened with Ottawa for the first time. In 
1874 the contract for the construction of a telegraph line was made for 
a line from Lake Superior to British Columbia. The route chosen lay 
along the proposed survey of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Construc- 
tion was completed from Selkirk, Manitoba, to Edmonton via Humboldt 
and Battleford in 1878, and operated as far as Battleford. The line 
crossed the South Saskatchewan River at Clarke's Crossing from which 
point an extension was built to Prince Albert in 1883. Upon the aban- 
donment of the first C. P. R. survey to the southern route across the 
prairies, the line to Edmonton branched off at Fort Qu'Appelle. West 
of Battleford the line ran westward via Hay Lakes to the trail between 
Calgary and Edmonton, thence to Edmonton. A new line was completed 
to Edmonton via Fort Pitt and Victoria north of the Saskatchewan River 
on August 14, 1887, and the old line via Strang and Leduc was aban- 
doned. During the perilous days of the Rebellion of 1885, a line was 
built from Dunmore to Fort Macleod, and from Moose Jaw to Wood 

Short lines were built within the Province as follows: (a) Edmonton 
to St. Albert, 9 miles, 1889; (b) C. P. R. Hotel, Banff, to N. W. M. P. 
Barracks, 4^ miles, 1889; (c) Edmonton to Beaumont, 15 miles, 1889; 
(d) Lethbridge to Cardston, 57 miles, 1894; (e) Edmonton to River Qui 
Barre, 1903 ; (f ) Lloydminster to main line of Government telegraph 
line, 1904; (g) Edmonton to Spruce Grove and Stony Plain, 1904. 


The shorter lines were operated as telephone lines. 

The line from Edmonton to Athabaska, 96 miles, was built and put in 
operation October 1, 1904. It was extended to Peace River Crossing, 
October 6, 1910. 

The first mail service to Alberta was established between Winnipeg 
and Edmonton in 1876. James McKay, Lord Southesks' famous guide, 
received the first contract, delivering the mail once every three weeks 
over the cart trail via Carlton and Fort Pitt. In October, 1880, this 
contract was taken over by J. W. McLean, known by all old-timers in 
the West as "Flat Boat McLean." As the Canadian Pacific Railway was 
extended westward the mail was carried by the railway mail service to 
the end of the steel where the contractor took it over for Alberta points. 
Today mail is carried to points in the far North by the same means as it 
was carried over the plains in those early days — dogs in winter, canoe or 
boat in summer. 

Though the people of the Far North have not yet been reached bj' 
railway, telephone or telegraph, they are "on the air" and in touch with 
the outside world. Radio stations at Fort McMurray, Wabascaw, Fort 
Smith and other points down the Mackenzie Valley receive daily 
news broadcasted from C. J. C. A., the powerful broadcasting station of 
the Edmonton Journal, at Edmonton, Government surveyors, explorers, 
tourists, prospectors. Royal Canadian Mounted Police now take with 
them small receiving sets on their travels "down North." 

Soon there will be a string of radio stations to the Arctic rim of the 
continent — to the mouth of the Mackenzie River, to Herschel Island and 
Coronation Gulf, and the loneliness of the cabin and igloo of these remote 
regions will be a thing of the past. 





The disappearance of the buffalo at the end of the late seventies pre- 
sented a serious problem to the government of Canada respecting the 
food supply of the Indians. From time immemorial the buffalo had been 
the principal sustenance of the aborigines. In 1879 the government 
imported 1,000 cattle from Montana for the purpose of distributing them 
among the Indians and creating a meat supply for these wards of the na- 
tion. The herd was placed in the Porcupine Hills west of Macleod, and 
though badly managed and depleted by thieves and wolves, proved that the 
cattle industry could be established in Alberta. The condition of the In- 
dians was tersely put by Crowfoot, the great chief of the Blackfeet nation, 
in an interview with Indian Commissioner Dewdney at Blackfoot Crossing 
in 1879 : "If you drive away the Sioux and make a hole so that the buffalo 
may come in, we will not trouble you for food; if you don't do that you 
must feed us or show us how to live." 

As soon as the Indians were placed upon their reserves the country 
was open for the establishment of the cattle industry. A number of 
ranches quickly followed, such as the Cochrane, Bar U, Oxley, Circle, 
Waldron, Quorn — names that recall the glorious days of the Cattle Kings 
to the old-timers of southern Alberta. The land regulations were revised 
under the authority of Act of Parliament (44 Vic. Chap. 16) to provide for 
grazing leases at low rates for large areas of government lands. Leases 
did not exceed a period of twenty-one years and the largest single lease was 
restricted to not more than 100,000 acres. The rate was $10.00 per 1,000 
acres per year and the lessee was required to place at least one head of 
cattle for every ten acres embraced in the lease. By Order-in-Council 
September 17th, 1889, the rate was raised to $20.00 per 1,000 acres and the 
number of cattle reduced to one head for every twenty acres. 

In 1881 Dr. McEachren, the veterinary inspector of live stock for 
Canada, reported that over 30,000 Montana cattle had been imported into 
Alberta and placed on the ranges in the Bow River valley and the Macleod 
district. The first general round-up was held in 1881 with W. F. Parker 
of Macleod as captain. By 1884 the ranching industry was fully estab- 
lished in Southern Alberta, located mostly in the foothill country south 




of Calgary. Forty-one companies were engaged in the business holding 
under lease an area of 2,782,000 acres. The North- West Cattle Associa- 
tion petitioned the government to prohibit sheep from running on the 
cattle ranges. Accordingly an Order-in-Council was passed in October, 
1884, defining the territory allotted exclusively to the cattlemen. The area 
was defined as follows: "On the South by the International boundary, 
on the west by the summit of the Rocky Mountains, on the north by the 
High River and its north fork to the Bow River, thence along the Bow 
River to the Eastern boundary of the provisional district of Alberta, and 
on the east by the said eastern boundary." 

Grazing leases contained a provision that the even numbered sections 
were open for homesteading. This condition engendered considerable fric- 
tion between the big ranchers and the homesteader. Many homesteaders 
on the pretence, it was alleged, of becoming agricultural settlers picked the 
choicest parts of the ranchers' leaseholds, and without paying rent went 
into competition with the leaseholder at the latter's expense. To obviate 
this difficulty a distinction was made between homestead settlers and ordi- 
nary lessees, by Order-in-Council April 7, 1887. By the new regulations 
homestead settlers were permitted to acquire upon application, leaseholds 
up to 2,500 acres, while ordinary lessees were compelled to obtain their 
leaseholds by public competition. The system of leasing with restrictions 
as to the number of cattle to be maintained was adopted in Alberta instead 
of the Montana system of paying a rental per head in order to prevent 
overstocking which would have led to the early destruction of the prairie 
grasses on the range, as had been the experience of ranchmen in the 
Western States. Regulations were enforced setting apart certain areas 
suitable as watering places for the common use of all ranchmen. These 
were reserved from settlement, as the procuring of water was essential to 
the continuance of the stock industry, and ranchmen were slow to sink 

In 1886 the officers of the Department of the Interior estimated that 
there were 104,000 cattle on the leased lands of Alberta, besides 11,000 
more owned by non-leaseholders. There was in addition, a large number 
owned by homesteaders not included in this estimate. 

Previous to September 1, 1886, there had been no tariflf restrictions on 
cattle imported into the North West Territory provided they were for 
stocking the ranges and not sold until the end of a period of three years, 
and the proportion of one head per ten acres was not exceeded. On the 
above date the government of Canada imposed a duty of 20 per cent. This 
regulation prevented wholesale importation or driving from the regions 
south of the International boundary line where protracted droughts had 
dried up the ranges. 

The winter of 1886 was the hardest that the cattlemen of Alberta had 
up to that date experienced. For weeks the snow was two feet deep on 
the plains and great numbers, particularly among the "pilgrim" cattle 


died. The losses were estimated by the owners and officers of the North 
West Mounted Police at fifteen per cent. These disasters taught cattlemen 
the importance of providing a store of winter fodder for emergencies of 
this nature and not to leave their herds to the luck of the weather. The 
most advanced cowmen began yarding their calves in the fall and feeding 
them during the winter. The number of cattle on the ranges in the sum- 
mer of 1887 was placed at 101,382. 

The regulations introduced by the Order-in-Council of 1887 differentia- 
ting between homesteaders' leases and large grazing leases, began to affect 
the large leaseholders. From 1888 onwards, the area under lease for graz- 
ing purposes steadily decreased, but on the other hand the number of 
ranchers engaged in the cattle industry increased, as did the total number 
of cattle on the ranges. The day of the great rancher with his 100,000 
acre ranch was ended. 

Owing to the demand for lands in Western Alberta for settlement, and 
to satisfy the land subsidies granted by Parliament to railway companies, 
it became necessary to change the regulations respecting grazing leases. 
This was done by Order-in-Council dated October 12th, 1892, authorizing 
the notification of all persons who held leases upon the form which did 
not provide for the withdrawal of lands for homestead or railway pur- 
poses, that their leases would be terminated after the 31st of December, 
1896 ; that they would be permitted to purchase up to ten per cent of their 
leaseholds at $2.00 per acre (this was reduced to $1.25 per acre by Order- 
in-Council April 22, 1893) and that after December 31st, 1896, it would 
be open to them to accept leases for the unexpired portion of the twenty- 
one years of such lands as was agreed upon with the government upon 
the terms of a lease that provided for the withdrawal of such lands for 
homestead or railway purposes. 

When these restrictions went into effect there was a sudden decrease 
in the area under grazing leases. It fell from 1,579,285 acres occupied 
by 159 lessees in 1893 to 248,984 acres occupied by 375 lessees in 1897. 
As a rule the lessees were settlers who rented limited areas in the neigh- 
borhood of their homesteads. From that date the area steadily increased, 
due to the extensive settlement that followed. In 1910 the area under 
lease in Western Canada was 3,293,539 acres of which 2,023,169 acres was 
in Alberta. The winter of 1896-97 was a very severe season, in fact the 
hardest since the terrible year of 1886, but owing to the better care that 
experience had taught the cowmen, the losses were not nearly so heavy as 
on the former occasion. It is interesting to note than ten years later in 
1906-07 the winter was a most severe one and caused considerable loss. 

Though conditions surrounding the cattle trade of Alberta were very 
favourable, even from the beginning the quality of the cattle as a whole 
gradually deteriorated. Breeders without experience or capital engaged 
in the business, crossbred bulls became common, and carelessness in breed- 
ing methods lowered the natural increase. The wholesale purchase of 


stockers from Manitoba and the eastern provinces introduced many in- 
ferior animals, and when these sources of importation failed stockmen 
began importing Mexican cattle. The climax of this deterioration was 
reached about 1902. "These degenerate descendants" says Dr. J. G. Ruth- 
erford, "of the ancient Spanish breed, although hardy and exceeding in 
length of horn, as in length of wind and speed anything ever before seen 
among our western cattle, did not recommend themselves to the Canadian 
rancher and after a few years the trade died out in 1905." 

Health: — As a rule the Alberta cattle do not suffer from diseases. 
This is in a large measure due to the careful supervision by the Dominion 
Department of Agriculture from the earliest days of the industry. In 
view of the fact that many of the cattle in the early days came from the 
Western States where the ranges were stocked from the Eastern States 
the Government adopted a rigid policy of veterinary inspection and quar- 
antine in 1884, (Order-in-Council Sept. 8, 1884.) This Order was made 
more restrictive in 1887 when the Canadian Pacific Railway was com- 
pleted across the prairie. The period of quarantine was raised from 
sixty to ninety days. A reserve of two townships along the international 
frontier as far as the Rocky Mountains was constituted a quarantine 
grazing ground, and a quarantine station set apart south of the Milk River, 
Order-in-Council May 12, 1888. By Order-in-Council Sept. 17, 1892, three 
well marked and naturally bounded quarantine stations were established in 
place of the indefinite strip of two townships along the frontier. These 
were definitely outlined as follows : 

>West Milk River 

.East Milk River 

No cattle were permitted to be entered between Sept. 30th and March 
31st of the following year in any year. This regulation was changed in 
1894 respecting the location of the quarantine stations in order to secure 
better water supply and to give the North West Mounted Police better 
opportunities of supervising quarantine. The new reservation was 
defined: "All that triangular tract of country bounded on the west by 
the main stream of Willow Creek, on the east by the north fork of the 
same creek and on the north by a small coulee or creek emptying into the 
said North Fork." (Order-in-Council May 9, 1894.) The quarantine 
areas were provided with corrals and sheds. 

In 1899 mange appeared in some of the herds in the Little Bow and 
Lethbridge districts though it had been noticed before. Dipping or 
dressing was ordered (Order-in-Council July 14, 1899). Stockmen 
most interested erected a dipping station at Rocky Coulee, eight miles 
southeast of Macleod under the supervision of Veterinary Inspector 


Township 1, 


19, 20, 






Township 1, 


12, 13, 





Township 2, 








Township 1, 







Township 2, 









Wroughton, F. Cochrane and Howell Harris. Six thousand eight hundred 
sixty cattle were dipped that season at this point. The disease spread 
over the entire southern part of Alberta, as far east as Maple Creek and 
north to the Red Deer. Dipping chutes were erected the next year at 
Pincher Creek, Lethbridge, High River, Medicine Hat and Willow Creek. 
By 1902 mange was pretty well eradicated except along the Red Deer 
River where 75 per cent were reported infected. Again in 1905 the 
Veterinary Director General reported that more cattle were affected with 
mange than ever before. Stricter measures relating to dipping and 
importation were enforced especially with cattle coming from Mexico, by 
the federal Department of Agriculture and the Western Stock Growers' 
Association, a fact that greatly discouraged the importation of Mexican 
steerrf. The Orders-in-Council of June 27th, 1904, and July 10th, 1905, 
defined the mange district and rules for the movement and shipment of 
cattle. The infected area was divided into fourteen districts, each placed 
in charge of a veterinary inspector. In case of small herds hand treatment 
with a specified preparation was authorized, but all large herds were 
required to be dipped twice in lime and sulphur dip. This necessitated the 
construction of large vats and of these 194 were constructed and ready for 
use in September 1904. During the year 547,705 cattle were dipped once 
and 422,805 a second time. The result was highly beneficial, and the 
infected area became so free from the disease that the Western Stock 
Growers' Association declared in 1906 that compulsory dipping was no 
longer necessary. The severe winter of 1906-7 led to drifting for great 
distances and as a result the diseased herds mixed with the healthy ones 
and the disease spread with extraordinary rapidity. Compulsory dipping 
was resorted to again in 1907, and 382,921 cattle were treated. By this 
treatment many districts were freed from mange. Since that year gen- 
eral compulsory dipping has not been ordered. A system of close inspec- 
tion and quarantine has been adopted instead, and though the disease may 
still exist in some districts it is under control. 

Cattle Stealing: — From the beginning of the cattle industry stealing 
was one of the annoying incidents of the business. The first form of 
this crime was running Canadian cattle over the border into Montana, 
but as the number increased on the ranges and a greater variety of 
brands were used the thieves adopted the obvious device of altering 
the brands on the old cattle and branding the calves with their own brand. 
These practices led the stockowners to form stock associations for com- 
mon protection. 

Stringent laws were passed by the Territorial legislature regulating 
driving of stock (C. 0. 1888 C. 17). Marking of stock, (1878, C. 12: 
1884 C. 14: 1887, C. 10: 1897 C. 23: 1898 C. 76) and Inspection of Stock 
(1899 C. 19). Rules respecting disposal of hides and marking of stock 
were also adopted by the associations under the authority of the legis- 


Purchasers of hides were compelled to keep a record of all hides of 
neat cattle, and every butcher was compelled to do the same. Notwith- 
standing these measures and the vigilance of the Mounted Police cattle 
stealing increased. More detailed inspection was required. The Western 
Stock Growers' Association was organized under legislative authority in 
1896. A better supervision was thus exercised over the industry by those 
conducting it. The southern part of the province was divided into the 
following stock districts each governed by district associations: — Bow 
River, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Sheep Creek, High River, Willow Creek 
and Pincher Creek. The Association had power to make by-laws relating 
to round-ups, suspension and expulsion of members. In 1899 the stock 
inspection ordinance was passed compelling inspection by official inspect- 
ors of all stock before being loaded for shipment. By this means shippers 
were compelled to produce title to the cattle in their possession. 

For many years the Western Stock Growers' Association kept an 
expert brand reader at Winnipeg to detect illegal shipments and sales of 
range cattle belonging to members of the Association. At the present 
time the Provincial Government has brand readers and stock inspectors 
at the principal stockyards in the province. The railways are forbidden 
to accept cattle out of the yards unless they have been inspected by the 
Government inspector. 

Another source of annoyance to cattlemen, especially those near the 
International line, was the diffi:culty of keeping American cattle from 
drifting on to the Alberta ranges. In addition to Mounted Police patrols, 
the ranchmen kept line riders to drive American cattle back. 

Markets and Prices: — To the rancher of experience and who ex- 
ercises judgment the cattle industry in Alberta has always been a 
financial success. The supplies required for the Indian reservations and 
for railway construction camps in the eighties provided a market from 
the first. The grass-fed steer was a new article of diet even for the 
western men who hitherto had been used to eat the cast-off bull teams of 
the ox-cart trains. In 1884 the Northwest Cattle Company sold 800 steers 
at $65.00. 

Export to Great Britain began in 1887 via Montreal. After paying 
all expenses the ranchmen realized $45.00 per head. Next year 5,000 were 
shipped from the Calgary district. Properly selected and finished animals 
realized from $40.00 to $50.00 profit, but underbred and unfinished cattle 
were a loss to the shippers. 

The beginnings of the British Columbia trade date from 1890. In 1892 
prices fell from $50 to $35 per head for steers. Shipments to England 
continued to grow, 6,500 being shipped in 1893. Next year more cattle 
were shipped to England than in any previous year. Prices varied from 
$40 for four-year-olds to $35 for three-year-olds and heifers. The output 
of the ranges in 1895 was reckoned by the North West Mounted Police at 
25,000 fat cattle, most of which were purchased by Gordon & Ironsides, 


Winnipeg. 7,000 stockers were imported from Ontario. 50,000 cattle 
were shipped over the Canadian Pacific Railway from the North West 
Territories in 1896, 18,000 of which went to Great Britain and 2,000 to 
British Columbia. 12,600 of these came from Alberta. The development 
of the mining- industry in Southern British Columbia and the extension of 
the Crowsnest Pass Railway into this region opened up a lucrative trade 
in butcher cattle which could not qualify for the eastern export market. 
One firm was killing about 400 per month for the Kootenay trade. Prices 
ranged as follows : 4-year-old steers, $40 to $42.50 ; 3-year-old steers, |35 
to $37.50; fat cows and other classes, $27 to $32.00. 16,000 stockers were 
shipped this year. By 1898 the exports of fat cattle from Manitoba and 
the North West Territories fell to 40,000. Of this number about 7,000 
went to the United States. Beginning with 1898 the supply of stockers 
fell short of the demand. The removal of the quarantine regulations in 
1897 opened a new market for this class in the United States, not only 
from Manitoba and Ontario where the ranchers had formerly obtained 
their supply of stockers but from the Territories as well. The exports 
of cattle from Canada to the United States suddenly rose from 1,930 in 
1896 to 92,864 in 1899. Of this number 35,000 were shipped from Mani- 
toba and the Territories. 

Notwithstanding, the exports of fat cattle increased. In 1898 Gor- 
don & Ironsides shipped over 26,900 cattle,' 12,000 of which came from 
the Alberta ranges. The Canadian Pacific Railway handled 43,000, over 
ten per cent of which went to British Columbia. The shipments of fat 
cattle in 1899 aggregated 31,938, of which 20,000 were from the Alberta 
ranges. The total exports including stockers were 67,000, compared with 
59,000 the year before. The export of stockers fell rapidly after 1900, 
and in 1901, 20,000 were brought in from Manitoba and Ontario. The 
export shipments in 1901 showed a marked decrease under those of 1900, 
due to the wet, late summer preventing the proper fattening of the ani- 
mals. The exports eastward tabulated by the Canadian Pacific Railway 
were 31,456 compared with 43,863 the previous year. 

Since 1900 there has been no effort made to replenish the large herds 
of earlier days. The result has been brought about by the settlement of 
land formerly used for ranching purposes, consequent upon the discovery 
of its suitability for growing wheat. Another cause has been the dis- 
inclination of the Federal Government to grant long term leases, pre- 
ferring to open the land for the homesteaders. Large ranchers sold off 
their herds, while others moved north and eastward of the Red Deer River. 
This area in turn developed rapidly, and the rancher was again driven 
out by the homesteader. The practice of marketing calves and spaying 
heifers further diminished the numbers of the herds to accommodate the 
limited areas open for range purposes. 

On account of repeated expressions of discontent on the part of the 
farmers of the province respecting the conditions surrounding the sale and 


shipment of live stock, the provincial government appointed the Beef 
Commission in 1907, and the Pork Commission in 1908. 

The Beef Commission found that about fifty per cent of the cattle 
raised were exported. These comprised "toppers" v^eighing from 1,200 
lbs and upwards, smooth and well finished. The discontent arose over the 
disposal of the remaining fifty per cent which comprised butchers' stock 
and small animals, tough and unfinished. It was found that this portion of 
the beef crop was sufficient to glut the domestic market, and the Com- 
mission advised that farmers and ranchers should make a greater effort 
to produce export cattle. In view of the changing conditions of the cattle 
industry due to rapid settlement the Commission strongly urged winter 
feeding. A number of enterprising owners had experimented along these 
lines but found that range cattle did not thrive well under the conditions 
incident to close housing. Housing in open sheds convenient to good 
pasturage was recommended. In this way wild range animals gradually 
would become quiet, a condition necessary to successful shipping. 

The exporters urged better selection of pure bred sires and better 
feeding, and many prominent witnesses before the Commission recom- 
mended the establishment of a cannery for "rough and thin animals, and 
those which have served their day in the dairy herd." 

With respect to the retail trade the Commission found that the profits 
of the local butchers ranged all the way from ten per cent to one hundred 
per cent according to the volume of business, and the methods used. The 
whole retail trade was said to be in control of one Company, the president 
of which said that if he were to close down for ten days the people would 
be starving. The Commission found that almost without exception the 
small shipper exported at a loss. "It would appear," runs the report, 
"that the transportation companies, commission merchants and all corpo- 
rations interested in shipping endeavour to discourage the small shipper." 
The chief difficulties lay in delays in transit, and delays in supplying cars. 
To effect a remedy the Commission recommended the appointment of a 
Live Stock Commissioner by the Provincial Government. This officer was 
appointed and live stock men soon reported considerable improvement in 
shipping. In 1910 the cattlemen of Alberta and the other prairie provinces 
working through the provincial departments of agriculture, the various 
live stock and breeders' associations, the Western Live Stock Union and 
United Farmers of Alberta opened negotiations with the railway com- 
panies to obtain satisfactory regulations for shipping live stock. After 
several tedious conferences an agreement was arrived at in 1913 which 
was sanctioned by the Board of Railway Commissioners of Canada. Ship- 
ping regulations, owing to the changing conditions of the live stock indus- 
try in the West, high freight rates and other circumstances, have never 
been regarded as just by the cattlemen and applications are being con- 
stantly made to the Railway Board. 

The chilled meat trade was discussed by several of the witnesses 


before the Beef Commission. The principal witness was Dr. McEachren. 
V. S., Manager of the Waldron Ranch since 1883. He stated that if the 
dressed meat trade could be established it would increase the value of 
beef cattle from twenty-five per cent to thirty per cent, but that the 
difficulties in the way were almost insurmountable. 

Notwithstanding- the difficulty of securing adequate and profitable 
markets for cattle and beef products the number of cattle steadily in- 
creased in numbers and value during the five years from 1911 to 1916. 
The number of milk cows increased from 147,649 to 284,895 and the 
average farm value per head from $43 to $77 in the period. Other cattle 
increased from 592,076 to 893,886 and the average value from $27 to $56 
per head. By 1916 the great shortage of food products due to the war 
caused beef prices to rise to unprecedented levels and to continue to do 
so until many months after the close of the war. The high prices of 
beef were counteracted by correspondingly high prices of grain and 
labour, and consequently the cattlemen received no more net profit during 
the period of high prices than in normal times. 

In order to encourage beef production during the war the federal De- 
partment of Agriculture authorized in 1916 what was known as the Car lot 
policy to effect a more equal distribution of live stock throughout the 
country, especially from the areas of the province that had suflfered from 
drought to the central and northern parts where grass and fodder were in 
great abundance. By this policy the Government paid the reasonable 
traveling expenses of the representative of any group or Association of 
farmers desiring to purchase feeding or breeding stock in Carload lots. 
Later, in 1917, this policy was supplemented by a free freight policy in 
cooperation with the railroad Companies. The Car lot policy was effective 
in turning back to country points a large percentage of stockers and feed- 
ers of all classes and prevented a ruinous depletion by slaughter and 
exportation of the live stock herds. Under the Free Freight policy female 
breeding stock was shipped free from the stockyards to country points, 
the railway Companies bearing twenty-five per cent and the federal gov- 
ernment seventy-five per cent of the freight charges. From September 21, 
1917, to December 31, 1919, some 40,000 heifers were turned back from the 
central stockyards of Alberta. This work was enlarged by the Provincial 
Department of Agriculture, by the Live Stock Encouragement Act, 1917. 
Under this act the Provincial Government gave assistance to farmers 
to obtain female breeding stock. Five or more persons engaged in prac- 
tical farming could organize as an association and each could procure a 
loan up to $500.00 for the purchase of cows and heifers. All purchases 
and arrangements were subject to the approval of the Live Stock Commis- 
sioner. Up to December 31, 1920 over 26,000 cattle had been placed on 
farms in Alberta at a cost to the Government of $1,704,000.00. The first 
instalment in payment of the loans became due in 1922. 

The number of cattle reached the peak in 1919. In that year there 


were 336,596 milk cows and 1,247,448 other cattle. By the end of 1920 the 
number of milk cows had decreased to 305,607 and other cattle to 
1,050,334. The decrease was due to the very dry season of 1919 in 
Southern Alberta, and the severe winter season of 1920. This was one 
of the longest and coldest winters since 1906-07 and resulted in a great 
shortage of feed and a high mortality of the ill-nourished stock in many 
parts of the province and a heavy liquidation. Prices also reached the 
peak in 1918. The average farm value of milk cows rose to $93 per head, 
and the average farm value of other cattle to $70 per head. The highest 
price reached on the Calgary market was $16.80 per hundred live weight 
in May 1918. 

The fall of 1920 marked a great slump in cattle prices to pre-war levels. 
This was accentuated by the United States Emergency Tariff of 1921 
imposing a duty on Canadian cattle entering the United States, which with 
the adverse exchange rate raised the tariff to nearly forty per cent. Since 
1911 Canadian cattle entered the United States free of duty and a con- 
siderable trade was growing. In the four years ending 1920 over 90,000 
cattle were shipped to United States points from Alberta. The effect of 
the tariff has been to close this market to the Alberta producers, which 
coupled with a restricted export of dressed beef has brought back the days 
of three-cent and four-cent beef. 

For many years an agitation has been fostered by the Western Live 
Stock Union to have the embargo placed on Canadian cattle by the British 
Government removed. The agitation was taken up by the Governments of 
the Dominion and the provinces in 1920 and delegates sent to give evidence 
before the Royal Commission of Inquiry on the Cattle Embargo in Great 
Britain. Hon S. F. Tolmie, Minister of Agriculture for Canada, and Hon. 
Duncan Marshall, Minister of Agriculture for Alberta, attended the Com- 
mission and gave evidence on behalf of Canadian and Alberta cattle 
owners. A permanent export outlet seems necessary to Alberta to find 
a market for partially finished cattle which cannot be absorbed by the 
domestic trade. Owing to climatic conditions, shortage of labor and to 
the sparsely settled and partially developed state of the country. Alberta 
will produce for a long time a larger number of store cattle than can be 
profitably finished at home. 

Interest in the chilled meat trade was revived in 1921 by the appoint- 
ment of a Commission by the Alberta Government. Messrs. John Wilson, 
Vice President of the Alberta Cattle Breeders' Association, William Spur- 
rell. Chairman of the Chilled Meat Committee of the United Farmers of 
Alberta, proceeded to England that year and made careful investigations 
into this phase of the cattle trade. The findings of the Commission indi- 
cated that there were favorable possibilities in the trade. The cost of 
transporting the carcass of a 1,200 lb. steer, dressing 660 pounds to London 
from Edmonton was estimated at $38.67 and the total returns therefor at 




Investigation was also made by the Dominion Live Stock Branch in 
the summer of 1921 into the conditions under v^hich the Canadian live 
fat cattle trade with Great Britain was carried on and what measures of 
improvement could be suggested. The investigation led to the conclusion 
that Canadian live fat cattle could be profitably marketed in Great Britain 
provided care was observed as to numbers, quality and regularity of 

The basic stock of the prairies was the American cattle imported in 
the early eighties, principally of the Texan and Spanish strains. The 
opening of the export trade to Great Britain taught the ranchers that if 
they were to gain a foothold in this market they must get rid of culls and 
breed high class steers. The local market was crowded and even culls 
were not salable at paying prices. The pure breeds introduced were most- 
ly Herefords and Shorthorns. Polled Angus were also introduced and 
some of the most successful stockmen bred from West Highlanders. Care- 
lessness in this respect was common. Commissioner Herchmer in his 
report for 1889 stated : "All sorts of bulls, many of them perfect brutes, 
run the prairie, and as long as free ranging is followed I cannot see that 
there can be any general improvement. In one herd a traveller will see 
Shorthorns, Galloways, Herefords, Polled Angus, occasionally a West 
Highlander and a good sprinkling of runts." 

Beyond the ranching country principally in Central and Northern 
Alberta, conditions in this respect were no better. A great many inferior 
cattle were brought in by settlers from Nebraska, Kansas and Oregon. 
One official of the Department of the Interior reported that it was almost 
impossible to imagine that such inferior specimens of the bovine species 
existed in the world. 

Ten years later Commissioner Herchmer reported: "I regret to report 
that the class of cattle in the country is not generally as good as formerly. 
The steers show less breeding and are smaller, caused, I think, by reducing 
the number of Shorthorn bulls and using Herefords, Angus, etc., indis- 
criminately. The best ranchers are now going back to Shorthorns. The 
best steers come from small ranches where the stockmen feed hay all 
winter and can attend to the breeding of their cows." 

In order to improve pure breeding the Territorial government under- 
took for a number of years to import pure breds from the East for the 
small farmers, bearing the cost of transportation except a nominal charge 
of $5.00 per head. This support was continued by the Alberta Government 
for a few years. 

Conditions have improved since those early days. Some of the fore- 
most breeders in Canada have established herds in Alberta. Mr. Frank 
Collicutt of Crossfield has a herd of over 500 Herefords, the largest in 
Canada. In 1917 the Courtice Cattle Co. transferred their entire herd of 
Herefords from Kentucky to a new home on the Bow River east of Cal- 
gary. This is reputed to be one of the finest breeding herds in Canada. 


As a mark of the enthusiasm of the Alberta breeders it may be cited that 
prices as high as $11,900.00 and $20,000.00 have been paid by Mr. Colli- 
cutt for pure-bred Hereford bulls, Gay Lad 40th and Gay Lad 16th. Other 
prominent breeders of Herefords are Mclntyre Bros, of Magrath who 
have the finest herd of female pure-breds in the Province; John M. David- 
son, Coaldale; Mace Bros., High River; and John Wilson, Innisfail. In 
1913 the Alberta Government established a number of demonstration 
farms at different points in the province. At each of those farms a model 
herd of some one or two beef and dairy breeds are kept for the purpose of 
improving such breeds in the vicinity of the farms. In the same year the 
Dominion Government, through the Live Stock Branch of the federal 
department of agriculture adopted a policy of loaning pure bred bulls to 
approved associations of farmers for breeding purposes. Five years later 
260 bulls of various breeds were loaned to Alberta associations and it is 
worthy of note that of this number 226 were Shorthorns. It will be seen, 
therefore, that Shorthorns have maintained their popularity, particularly 
with the farmers. The Herefords are more popular with the big ranchers. 
Shorthorns are well represented in the herds of Charles Yule, Carstairs; 
Louis Bowes, Calgary; Wm. Short, Edmonton; The Prince of Wales' 
Ranch, High River; W. W. Sharpe, Stettler; William Sharpe, James 
Sharpe and Percy Talbot, Lacombe; Hon. Duncan Marshall, Olds; J. G. 
Clark, Irma ; and T. Bertram Ralph, Airdrie. As representative of the type 
of excellence aimed at by Alberta breeders it may be cited that "Dale Vis- 
count," a Shorthorn bull owned by Hon. Duncan Marshall, won second in 
his class at the Chicago International in 1919. 

For many years the pure breeders of cattle in Alberta were organized 
as one body, The Alberta Cattle Breeders' Association, but in 1917 sep- 
arate associations were formed representing the Shorthorn, Hereford and 
Aberdeen Angus breeds. It marked the careful attention that is being 
given by Alberta breeders in later years to the improvement of the respec- 
tive breeds. 


Brands are used in order to identify live stock on the open range. The 
letter, sign, numeral or character constituting the brand is determined 
and allotted to each owner of stock by the Recorder of Brands. This 
official is appointed by the Government and keeps a record of the brands 
and the owners to whom they have been allotted. The presence of a 
recorded brand on any stock is prima facie evidence of ownership. No 
person may have more than two brands for horses and two for cattle. 
In order to denote the transfer of ownership of any stock, the transferrer 
is compelled to mark his vent at the time of the transfer. In case, how- 
ever, the stock are intended for slaughter or export the purchaser may 
waive this right in lieu of a certificate of purchase from the former owner. 



In the early days of the Province live stock ranged freely over the 
prairie, but as settlement advanced and grain growing became an import- 
ant industry some legal restrictions were necessary to protect the farmer 
and the grain grower. Such restrictions are embodied in the herd and 
pound laws. Under the Pound Ordinance a pound district may be formed 
by proclamation of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council of any territory 
not less than a township not included in a municipality, provided a ma- 
jority of the landowners in such territory do not object. Within the area 
of the pound district animals designated "estrays" may be impounded and 
disposed of according to law. The Lieutenant-Governor in Council has 
power to define what domestic animals shall be prohibited from running at 
large and to fix the time in the year during which the pound law shall be 
in force. 

The herd law applies to districts north of township 24 and east of 
Range 11 West of 4th Meridian and south of the 55th parallel in the 
Dominion Lands survey. In this part of the Province the Lieutenant- 
Governor may form a herd district in a manner similar to forming pound 
districts except that the area of a herd district may not be less than 144 
square miles. The law operates only from May 15th to Oct. 30th of each 
year. During that period estrays may be impounded and disposed of by 
law. The first pound law was passed in 1881, and the first herd law in 

These laws and others, viz., the Entire Animals Ordinance, Protec- 
tion of Sheep and other Animals from Dogs, Stray Animals Ordinance, 
The Sheep Trailing Act, Act Restraining Dangerous and Mischievous 
Animals and the Fence Ordinance were revised and consolidated into one 
Act — The Domestic Animals Act, in 1920. 


LIVE STOCK (Continued). 


The Beginning and Development of the Horse Industry: — The native 
horse of the prairies was the Indian Pony used by the Plain Indians to 
hunt the buffalo. Lord Southesk who crossed the plains in 1859 says that 
buffalo runners cost from $20.00 to $40.00. Prior to the coming of the 
North West Mounted Police in 1874 very few well-bred horses were to 
be found in the West. Horses from Eastern Canada proved more service- 
able for the hard work of police duty than the native stock. The Gov- 
ernment establishd farms in connection with a number of the police forts 
to breed a supply of suitable horses for the Police Force. One of the 
earliest of these farms was situated west of Fort Macleod near Pincher 
Creek. A few good horses were raised by the early settlers in the vicinity 
of Fort Macleod and Calgary but not in sufficient numbers to satisfy the 
needs of the Mounted Police for remounts. 

In the early eighties Alberta horsemen became very enthusiastic 
about breeding horses for the British Army. The Quorn Ranch and 
others imported many fine mares and a number of famous sires like 
Eagle Plume, Silk Gown and Acrostic were brought into the country. 
Many fine cavalry horses were bred, but the market failed and the fine 
mares of the Quorn Ranch were afterwards used as plow animals. 

In 1886 the officers of the Department of the Interior estimated the 
number of horses in Southern Alberta to be about 10,000. These were 
mostly found in the Calgary and Macleod districts. From that date the 
horse ranching developed into a separate and profitable industry in 
Southern and Central Alberta. Three thousand, five hundred animals, 
most of whom were mares, were imported that year from Oregon, British 
Columbia and Ontario. Breeders began importing sires from England 
and Kentucky and an attempt was made to place the industry on a sound 
basis and to breed the type of horse suitable for draught and agricultural 
work. The climate, grass and other conditions of the country were found 
to be ideally adapted for raising superior animals. Dr. McEachren, the 
chief veterinary inspector of the Dominion, reported to the Government 
in 1887 as follows : 

"Probably no better horsebreeding country exists in the British Em- 
pire than the district of Alberta." Several important ranches like the 



Stimson Ranch at High River and the Cochrane Ranch on the Bow River 
were established in 1887. The ranges began to flourish with representa- 
tives of the most important breeds — Irish Hunters, Clydesdales, Hack- 
neys and Thoroughbreds. Horsemen soon realized that the day of the 
cayuse was past, and that better care in selection, feeding and handling 
was imperative. A picture of the conditions that prevailed in this respect 
is seen in the following words of Dr. McEachren: 

"The days of breaking young horses as done by the broncho rider are 
over, viz., catching him with the lasso, blindfolding him, saddling and 
mounting him, and with whips and spurs making the poor, frightened 
creature buck, rear, plunge and gallop over the prairie until horse and 
rider are exhausted, and broken in spirit and subdued by fatigue the 
horse yields a sullen obedience, but is utterly untaught, unmannered and 
devoid of 'mouth'." 

In 1888 all the remounts necessary for the Mounted Police were ob- 
tained in the Territories. Thirty individuals of fine quality, the first 
Alberta-bred horses off^ered for sale in the country, were purchased from 
Frank Strong of Macleod. The remainder were procured from the North 
West Cattle Company. Prices varied from $125.00 for saddle horses to 
$150.00 for team horses. In the next three years a great many horses 
were brought into the country from England, Oregon and Montana, but 
apart from a few of the best breeders there were a great many horses of 
poor quality on the ranges. In 1891 the Mounted Police were unable to 
get more than one hundred remounts in the Territories suitable for police 
work. The reason given by Commissioner Herchmer of the Police Force 
was that breeders tried to raise sixteen-hand animals from fourteen-hand 
mares. Several hundreds were sent to England in 1892. These were of 
a class refused by the Police and so the experiment proved of little value. 
Great difficulty was found in finding a market, due to the inferior quality 
of the horses offered and to the general trade depression and the intro- 
duction of electric cars in eastern cities. Commissioner Herchmer stated 
that one-half the mares in the country could have been killed off with- 
out injuring the horse industry. The price of the best horses fell to 
$60.00. Heavy Clydes from 1,400 to 1,600 pounds brought no more than 

The police census of 1895 showed that there were 42,257 horses on 
the ranges ; most of these were in Southern Alberta. 1896 and 1897 were 
very dull years for the horsemen. Many sold their horses for what they 
could get and went into cattle ranching. William Pearce, Superintendent 
of Mines, reported to the Minister of the Interior in 1897 that there were 
not thirty per cent of the horses on the ranges between townships nine 
and twenty-four that were there two years before. 

The stream of immigration that began to trickle in 1898, and in later 
years to actually pour in, gave the first great impetus to the horse indus- 
try in Alberta and Western Canada. Those horsemen who stuck to the 


business during the dull years from 1893 to 1898 now began to do well. 
The Klondike gold boom created a great demand for pack horses. Ca- 
yuses and Indian ponies, which had formerly been the scourge of the 
horse trade, were taken in hundreds at prices that were obtained for good 
horses. The Commissioner of the Police stated in 1899 that the price 
of horses had increased fifty per cent and that breeders were giving more 
attention to heavy classes suitable for farm work. In former years breed- 
ers had an idea that the only market available was the Army or the 
Mounted Police but the rapid settlement and agricultural development 
that set in in 1900 taught them that the most profitable market lay at 
their very doors. From that time to the present (1919) the supply of 
suitable horses for farm and dray work has seldom been above the demand. 

The extraordinary demand in the Province referred to above began 
to attract the inferior and surplus stock from the Montana ranges. Owing 
to the low duty these were dumped into Western Canada and glutted the 
limited market for low grades and misfits of our own ranges. The horse- 
breeders, through the Horsebreeders' Association, petitioned the Dominion 
Government in 1902 to impose a minimum valuation on all horses im- 
ported into Canada. Over 21,000 horses had been brought into the Terri- 
tories in 1902 at an average valuation of $25.00 a head. Of this number 
at least one-half, it was said, were imported for breeding purposes. The 
minimum asked for was $75.00 which was reduced by the Dominion 
Government to $50.00. Stallions and mares valued under $50.00 were 
prohibited from being imported into Canada. With this achievement the 
horse industry has immensely grown in importance in the development 
of agriculture. The interests of horsemen have been actively kept to the 
front by the Alberta Horsebreeders' Association — the organization that 
superseded the Territorial Association when Alberta became a separate 
province. Legislation respecting the enrolling of stallions was enforced 
by the legislature of the Territories in 1903. By this means inferior sires 
with mongrel pedigrees were practically prohibited from being imported 
or being used within the Province and what was a menace to innocent 
breeders was removed. 

Considerable interest in light horse breeding was aroused by the pros- 
pect of supplying remounts for the British Army. Representatives of the 
War Oflice in London (Col. C. H. Bridge, C. B., C. M. G., and Major 
Drage, V. S.) visited the Province in 1905 and selected 111 horses. The 
shipment was almost totally destroyed in transit by a railway collision. 
Next year 115 horses were selected by Colonel Bridge for the Army, but 
owing to the great demand that sprang up within the Province for this 
class of horses the sales to the Army ceased. 

From 1905 to the outbreak of the war good horses found a ready 
market. Railway development was active. Settlers were pouring into 
the country. Mining camps and lumbering camps afforded a splendid 
market for the best heavy draught teams. Horses of sufficient weight 


sold at prices varying from $500.00 to $700.00 a team in British Columbia. 
Teams from 2,800 to 3,500 pounds were worth from $350.00 to $400.00, 
smaller teams from $300.00 to $350.00. The big horse ranches began to 
disappear in 1904 and 1905. Thousands of young mares were sold off the 
ranges. The effect was soon seen in the decrease in the number of horses. 
Railway contractors were forced to import mules, and tractors began 
to take the place of horses on the large farms. In 1909 and 1910 it was 
estimated the railway contractors imported 2,500 teams of mules. By the 
end of the period (1905-1913) motor trucks and tractors so influenced the 
horse market that prices fell $25.00 to $50.00 per head. A cycle of 
railway building was completed and the contractors threw many horses 
on the market, which had a bearish effect on prices. 

The war did not cause such a rise in horses as it did in other classes 
of live stock. When the war broke out it was expected that the British 
Army would take large numbers of horses from Alberta. Breeders were 
again disappointed. The army officers offered low prices and horsemen 
seemed to imagine that a horse that was no good for work in Alberta was 
the right horse for the Army. In 1916, however, the cry for increased 
production raised a keen demand for all classes of good farm horses and 
several thousand were imported from Eastern Canada. From 1914 to 
1920 the number of horses in the Province increased from 520,000 to 
800,000. Though many influences have been at work to improve the 
quality of horses, unfortunately the increase is inferior to the best types 
and to the splendid foundation stock imported and bred in the early days. 

Alberta horses have always been comparatively free from disease. 
Glanders and mange have broken out from time to time, but these dis- 
eases have been generally traced to outside sources. Glanders was im- 
ported by the Blackfoot Indians in 1877 from Montana where they spent 
the winter hunting the buffalo. The eradication of the disease entailed 
a great deal of labor and expense upon the government and it was not 
until 1886 that it was under control. Strict quarantine regulations have 
been enforced from time to time ever since, according to the occurrence 
of mange and glanders. Range riders were maintained by the Health of 
Animals Bureau of the federal department of Agriculture who searched 
the ranges for infected animals. Since 1917 glanders has been practically 
extinct in the provinces. 

In 1904 douraine or "maladie du coit" made its appearance among 
the horses in Southern Alberta, being introduced by some of the settlers 
from the Western States. This proved to be one of the most insidious 
diseases of the range. The Health of Animals Branch established a re- 
search laboratory at Lethbridge. Here Dr. Watson worked for a num- 
ber of years to produce a serum that enabled horsemen to cure the 
disease in its incipient stages. This result was obtained in 1917 and since 
that time douraine has ceased to be a menace to the horsemen. 

Clydesdales and Percherons are the favorite breeds with Alberta horse- 

CALGARY, 1918 

8<»t 51. .•.ii.««»« »«< 



men although there are many Shires and Suffolks among the heavy- 
draught types. The marvelous growth of motor cars has caused a decline 
in the various classes of light horses. At one time the province had many 
fine Hackneys and Standard Breds. Alberta has won high honors in com- 
petition on these breeds with the best horsebreeders of the world. The 
champion Hackney at the Pan-American Exhibition in 1901 and the New 
York Horse Show in the same year came from the Rawlinson Ranch ten 
miles from the city of Calgary. Again, the Champion Hackney Stallion 
and Hackney Mare at the World's Fair, St. Louis, 1904, "Saxon" and 
"Priscilla", were bred and raised in Alberta. The finest and largest herd 
of Percherons in America are located in Alberta, owned by George Lane. 
The herd comprises over 500 head. Since 1918 over 75 head of this great 
herd have been sent to England to establish a Percheron stud. In 1920 
the Provincial Department of Agriculture in co-operation with the Clydes- 
dale and Percheron Associations imported two stallions, the best individ- 
uals of the breeds obtainable, for special breeding purposes. 


Rise and Progress of the Industry: The sheep industry of Alberta 
dates from the early eighties. The first flocks were established in the 
open range country in the southern part of the provisional district and 
ran in bands of from 2,000 to 5,000 head. The first wool shipment con- 
taining 70,000 lbs. was made in 1884. The foundation stock imported 
mostly from Montana and Wyoming was of the Marino or Rambouillet 
breed with varying grades of impurity crossed with Shropshires or Ox- 
fords, with small carcasses and heavy fleeces. Wool was generally low 
in price and flock-masters introduced Downs and long wool varieties with 
a view to increasing the weight of the carcass, as mutton was more profit- 
able than wool. Sheep ranchers and cattle ranchers appeared on the 
plains about the same time. The first leases were granted in 1881 and 
regulations governing the issue of leases were authorized by 0. C, Decem- 
ber 23, 1881. Differences between the sheep and cattle men quickly fol- 
lowed. In 1882 an 0. C. was passed prohibiting the grazing of sheep on 
Dominion Lands. In 1884 this area was restricted to that portion of 
Alberta south of the Highwood and Bow Rivers. The sheepmen were 
driven eastward into Assiniboia, and the number of sheep in the district 
rapidly decreased. It is very difficult to ascertain accurately from any 
available source the number of sheep in the Territories at various times. 
Dr. McEachren in his report for 1887 states that there were about 18,000 
sheep in the country and that the industry was "eminently successful." 
The same year the inspector of ranches reported 15,266 sheep on leased 
lands in the Territories, 5,800 of which were in Alberta. 

The restrictions imposed by the regulations of 1884 discouraged the 
sheepmen. Commissioner Herchmer, of the N. W. M. P., in his report 


for 1889, states: "The large sheep ranches are disappearing and I think 
the industry will resolve itself into keeping small flocks on homesteads." 
This was not feasible unless the flocks were fenced in. In the country 
south of Macleod and Lethbridge the industry almost vanished. Dr. 
Wroughton, quarantine officer, in his report for 1890, after gathering in- 
formation from ranchers and other sources, reported 1,004 sheep in this 
part of Southern Alberta. The same year Superintendent Mclllree took 
a house-to-house census of the stock in the Calgary district, that is from 
Mosquito Creek north to the Little Red Deer River, and found 18,000 head. 
After 1890 the sheep industry improved, the number of sheep in- 
creased and the business became, to those who exercised reasonable care 
with their flocks, profitable. The most favored districts lay east of Al- 
berta between Swift Current and Maple Creek, though a large flock was 
placed on the Alberta Railway & Coal Company's lands in the vicinity of 
Lee's Creek. Scab broke out in 1893. The disease was brought from 
Idaho. A great many flocks had been imported from across the border 
the previous year, from districts where scab had been prevalent. Active 
measures were taken to stamp out the disease. Dr. McEachren, the chief 
veterinary officer of the Dominion Government, visited the Territories 
and established quarantine districts. All movement of sheep was pro- 
hibited except under specific instructions, viz., inspection by authorized 
inspector, certificate of health, and movement for slaughter only at their 
destination. The quarantine districts were as follows : 

(a) Tps. 1 to 16, inclusive. West of the 3rd Meridian. 
Ranges 23 to 30, inclusive, West of the 3rd Meridian. 

(b) Tps. 1 to 16, inclusive, West of the 4th Meridian. 
Ranges 1 to 8, inclusive. West of the 4th Meridian. 

(c) Range 25 as far north as Tp. 9 West of the 4th Meridian. 

(d) Range 16 as far north as Tp. 9 West of the 4th Meridian. 

The extent of the revival of the industry previous to the outbreak of 
scab may be deduced from Dr. McEachren's visit to the various ranches 
in 1893. He found over 45,000 sheep on the ranches he visited, varying 
in flocks of from 1,000 to 5,000. Before the appearance of scab an export 
trade had been opened with Great Britain but the presence of scab influ- 
enced the British Government to place an embargo on Canadian sheep. 
Coupled with the great losses due to the disease the sheepmen received 
a serious set-back. Wool was only 7 to 9 cents a pound and the low prices 
of sheep in Montana enabled the Montana mutton growers to undersell 
the Alberta producers in British Columbia, the only market open to the 
latter. As in the case of the cattle trade the development of the British 
Columbia mines produced a similar prosperity in the mutton trade. From 
1899 until 1902 the sheepmen, notwithstanding what was alleged to be 
unfavorable grazing regulations, made more money than the cattlemen. 
Commissioner Herchmer in his report of 1899, states : "While the 
quality of cattle is not improving, that of sheep is, rapidly, and there is 


a great difference in the appearance and value of our sheep and those 
across the line which are not so carefully bred up." During this period 
great numbers of sheep were imported from Montana and Wyoming and 
doubts arose lest the Canadian range would be overstocked. Seventy 
thousand sheep were reported to be in the Lethbridge district alone in 
1901 compared with 1,004 ten years before. Eighty thousand more were 
reported between Swift Current and Langevin. In a letter to the Depart- 
ment of the Interior, F. W. Martin, a prominent breeder of Maple Creek, 
reported 230,000 sheep in Western Assiniboia. One flock in Alberta, that 
of Jesse Knight of Raymond, numbered 46,000 head. 

The revival of the industry renewed the old quarrel between the 
sheepmen and the cattlemen. A special investigation was made by the 
Dominion Government in 1901 with the result that separate territory was 
allotted to the respective parties, the sheepmen being driven into the coun- 
try between Medicine Hat and Swift Current. The herds gradually drifted 
back into Southeastern Alberta and by 1906 there were 154,266 sheep in 
Alberta compared with 121,556 in Saskatchewan. 

The storm of 1903 was probably one of the most disastrous in the his- 
tory of the sheep industry. It came in the most critical period of the 
lambing season, and most of the lambs on the large ranches perished. 
Many of the largest sheep owners sold their entire stock and went into 
cattle. Large breeding flocks were sold for mutton, causing production 
to fall below the demand and requiring importation from New South 
Wales and the United States to meet the wants of the local market. 

By 1905 the open land of Southern Alberta has been nearly all taken 
up by homesteaders and sheep were regarded as outcasts and the sheep 
ranchers as pirates on the range. 

From that date until 1910 the ranching industry steadily declined. 
The census of 1911 showed that there were 21,000 fewer sheep in Alberta 
than in 1906, and it became apparent that the only hope of expansion 
lay in the establishment of farm flocks. Meanwhile the population was 
growing and large importations from the United States, Australia and 
New Zealand became necessary to maintain the mutton supplies. In 
1909 it was estimated that those importations reached 60,000 sheep and 
15,000 lambs. 

Until 1910 almost 90 per cent of the sheep in the province were found 
south of township 25. In that year a great many flocks varying from 
200 to 1,000 head were moved northward over the Red Deer River to 
the lands then opened in Central Alberta. This year marked a turn in 
the sheep industry. Farm flocks became general and the number of sheep 
steadily increased. 

The eyes of the sheep rangemen now turned to the Foothills for pas- 
turage. Through the efforts of the Wool Growers Association in 1912 it 
was found that there was sufficient summer range for over 50,000 sheep 


and later permission was given to run sheep in the Forest Reserves. 
From 1909 the number of sheep increased from 130,000 to 383,000. 

For many years the great bulk of the wool grown in Alberta and Sas- 
katchewan represented a class of its own among Canadian wools. It was 
known as "Western Wool" or "Territorial Wool." The yearly clip, 
amounting to about 1,000,000 pounds in the grease, representing nearly 
500,000 pounds of scoured wool, was classed as medium fine. The west- 
ern sheep grower differed from the sheepmen in any other part of Canada 
in that he began the industry with wool breeds, as opposed to mutton 
breeds. The development of agriculture and mixed farming tended to 
make mere wool growing unprofitaWe. This branch of the sheep indus- 
try declined, from a variety of causes. The wool grower from the first 
was regarded more of an intruder in range land than a pioneer of prog- 
ress. From the conditions of his situation he made his business an under- 
study of that of the States across the line, practically divorcing himself 
from the rest of the Canadian sheep growers. While the woolen manu- 
facturers were protected by a customs duty the wool grower had no pro- 
tection and in addition had to pay a high duty on wire fencing to guard 
his flocks from the ravages of timber wolves and coyotes. Consequently 
wool was an unsatisfactory product in Western Canada, often selling as 
low as 7 and 8 cents a pound. The mutton market was at the producer's 
door but the wool market was in the manufacturing centres of the east. 
The tariff which was imposed to protect the coarse wools of the east gave 
no protection to the finest grades of the western wool. 

The Dingley tariff cut off a large market for western wool and led the 
Territorial Sheepbreeders' Association to petition the federal government 
to take fine wool off the free list and give them a chance to supply the ten 
million pounds of wool annually imported into Canada. 

The improvement in the prospects of the sheep industry during the 
last few years encouraged wool growers to devote greater attention to the 
requirements of the foreign market respecting dipping the sheep, wash- 
ing and sorting the wool. 

In 1916 the Australian method of shearing and baling wool was in- 
troduced into the province. Mr. M. R. C. Harvey, a veteran sheepman, 
established the first plant at Chin Lakes. The new methods coupled with 
a more co-operative system of marketing greatly assisted in the success 
of the sheep industry. The annual clip is about 2,500,000 pounds. The 
influence of the war on the sheep industry was reflected in rising prices 
for wool and mutton. From 1905 to 1910 the average price of wool was 
14 cents a pound. By 1915 the price rose to 27 cents a pound, and in the 
closing days of the war Alberta wool sold for 63 cents a pound. Mutton 
rose in the same period to $7.80 in 1915, to $10.50 in 1916 and to $16.00 
in 1918, live weight. 

Difficulties Between Cattlemen and Sheepmen: — From the first the 
sheepmen and cattlemen came into conflict. As we have seen, sheep- 


grazing on Dominion Lands was prohibited in 1882 and 1884, within cer- 
tain areas. These regulations remained in force until 1893. At that 
time it would appear from the official records that neither the officers of 
the Territorial Government nor the land agents of the Department of the 
Interior were clear as to the nature of the sheep grazing regulations. 
There was great uncertainty among ranchmen as to what parts of the 
country were open for sheep grazing. Accordingly in 1893 regulations 
were passed prohibiting the grazing of sheep in any part of Alberta west 
of the C. & E. Railway, the Bow, Belly and St. Mary Rivers to the inter- 
national boundary. All that part of Alberta east of the St. Mary River 
and south of the Saskatchewan River was set apart exclusively for the 
grazing of sheep. In all other parts of Alberta and the Territories it was 
necessary to have the consent of the Minister of the Interior to obtain a 
grazing lease for sheep (0. C. April 22, 1893). With the advance of set- 
tlement and the growth of the sheep and cattle industries, the clash of 
interests became more and more acute, and in 1901 the Department of 
the Interior appointed Mr. E. W. Burley to make an investigation into the 
conditions. A joint meeting of the opposing parties was held in Medicine 
Hat August 24, 1901, and as a result thereof Commissioner Burley re- 
ported that the proper course to follow was to throw the country open to 
sheep and cattle alike. Mr. Burley was succeeded by Mr. W. Stuart, and 
another meeting was held at Medicine Hat, October 1, 1902. Both parties 
agreed that there was room in the country for both industries. On Janu- 
ary 1, 1903, new departmental regulations were passed respecting grazing 
leases. The grazing tract in Alberta comprised the part of the provinces 
south of township 29. Within this area certain areas were reserved ex- 
clusively for sheep, viz. : 

(a) Ranges 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 in Townships 9 and 10; 
also the parts of ranges 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 in Townships 9 south of 
the Bow and Saskatchewan rivers. 

(b) A block of 8 townships on the shore of Lake Pakowski, and along 
Etzikom Coulee comprised in ranges 8, 9, 10, 11 in townships 5 and 6. 

(c) A block of 10 townships around Many Island Lake a few miles 
northeast of Medicine Hat. This area was continuous with a large area 
extending eastward into Saskatchewan comprising 80 townships, the 
greater part of which was north of the main line of the C. P. R. 

(d) Two small areas were set apart in the Cypress Hills for grazing 
during the season when spear grass was prevalent on the sheep ranges. 


The swine industry developed slowly in Alberta. In the early days 
it did not appeal to the settlers like the cattle and sheep industries. No 
attempt was made to produce on a scale big enough to establish an export 
trade. For many years the supply of hogs in the Northwest was away 


below the demand. The Government of the Northwest Territories made 
repeated attempts to establish the industry on a better basis by importing 
pure-bred stock and disposing of them on advantageous terms to the 
farmers. Up to 1903 the Government had distributed 681 pure-bred 
sows and 122 pure-bred boars in the North West Territories. Eighteen 
small packing houses were in operation. 

The great obstacle to the growth of the industry was the want of a 
steady market. Prices were controlled by local influences. Packers and 
buyers failed to realize that the years of low prices were also years of 
small profits and so "misused the opportunity presented by large offer- 
ings to depress prices below a reasonable level as to discourage the farm- 
ers and lessen the output." Dissatisfaction with market conditions grew 
to such an extent that in 1907 the Government of Alberta instructed the 
Beef Commission to conduct an inquiry into the hog industry. The Com- 
missioners reported that the farmers had no confidence in the market. 
"There have been times when prices have been high, suflSciently so to 
encourage the farmers engaging extensively in the industry but when a 
large number of hogs came on the market the price dropped below the 
cost of production. This condition of affairs has been repeated several 
times in the last decade, so that at the present time the farmers, while 
anxious to engage in the business, will not venture because of the uncer- 
tainty of the market. We are forced to believe that there is a monopoly 
in the industry, and that the privilege has been abused." Another au- 
thority dealing with the problem declared : "The price depends upon 
nothing but what the buyer thinks the producer will take." 

The Commission reported further that 75 per cent of the cured pork 
used in the province was imported from Eastern Canada and the United 
States and sold at ridiculously high prices. In consequence of the condi- 
tions that prevailed the Commission recommended the Government to 
undertake the establishment and management of a Government pork 
packing plant, somewhere between Edmonton and Calgary. 

In 1908 the Government followed up the work of the Beef Commission 
by a second Commission known as the Pork Commission appointed to defi- 
nitely inquire into the feasibility of a government co-operative pork-pack- 
ing plant. This body recommended, among other things, that when a suffi- 
cient number of hog growers gave a reasonable assurance that they would 
supply at least 50,000 hogs per year, and elect officers and directors to 
look after a steady supply of hogs, to decide on the money necessary to 
establish a plant, and to look after the conduct and ability of the opera- 
tors, the government should undertake to furnish the money to build, 
equip and operate a plant as the directors deemed advisable. In compli- 
ance with this recommendation the legislature voted $50,000 in 1909 to 
this project to be applied as soon as the farmers would contract to fur- 
nish 50,000 hogs per year. A canvass of the province was made and the 
number of hogs promised amounted to only 12,764, consequently the 


co-operative scheme failed and nothing has been attempted in this respect 

The prosperity of the hog- industry is best indicated by the number 
in the province each year during the last twelve years. The numbers 
indicate a rise and fall about every five years. As prices increase the 
numbers increase to a peak and then fall more or less suddenly. Hogs 
increased from 139,000 in 1909 to 397,000 the next year. The great 
demand for bacon and hog products that set in about the end of 1915 
caused a sudden rise in the number in the province to 603,000 in 1916 and 
reached the maximum in the history of the swine industry of Alberta in 
1917 when the number of hogs was 730,000. During this period the price 
of hogs soared to $18,321/2 per hundred live weight in 1918, showing that 
the price depends on continuous export to save the producer from the 
power of the local packers and butchers. Another factor also entered 
into the price. That was the high cost of rough grains and farm labor. 
These factors coupled with bad harvests in certain parts of the province 
discouraged farmers so much that it required a strong and persistent 
propaganda by the governments, federal and provincial, to prevent throw- 
ing lean and unfinished hogs upon the market. Since 1918 the number of 
hogs has been falling at the rate of about 150,000 a year. As in the case 
of the cattle industry the hog industry is back to where it was in 1906. 


Lying south of the Red Deer River valley and between the Cypress 
Hills and the Rocky Mountains, is an expanse of territory relatively dry 
and suitable for irrigation. In its natural state the territory is admir- 
ably adapted for grazing and though the rainfall is sufficient in some 
years to produce splendid cereal crops, the recurrence of dry years is so 
frequent that irrigation is necessary to sustain successful agriculture. 

In the early days of the province it was the great ranching district of 
the North West Territories, but owing to the demand for land follow- 
ing the construction of the C. P. R. in 1884 the grazing regulations where- 
by large areas were leased to stock growers were cancelled and the district 
opened for homesteading. The cancellation of the grazing regulations 
went into effect in 1893 and active settlement began. With settlement 
the movement for irrigation arose. The father of the movement may be 
said to have been Mr. William Pearce of Calgary, for several years Super- 
intendent of Mines under the Department of the Interior. 

The first irrigation ditch in the North West Territories was con- 
structed by Mr. John Glenn who in 1875 squatted on what upon survey 
proved to be section 3, township 23, range 1, west 5th meridian. The ditch 
was constructed about 1878. The water was taken out of Fish Creek and 
an area of 15 to 20 acres irrigated. Next, two Americans who squatted on 
the Peigan Indian Reserve before it was surveyed, tapped Beaver Creek 
so as to convey water to a small portion of land whenever the creek over- 
flowed. In 1889, water was taken out of Big Bear Creek which lies on 
the north slope of the Cypress Hills and enters into Crane Lake, by ditch, 
to create more hay lands. The next ditch constructed in the territory is 
supposed to have been in the year 1891 by Mr. John Quirk. The water 
was taken out of the north fork of Sheep Creek about section 5, township 
20, range 4, west 5th. This was one of the most successful of the early 

The first Irrigation Company chartered by Act of Parliament of Can- 
ada was organized in 1891 when the Macleod Irrigation Company received 
its charter. In 1892 the High River and Sheep Creek Irrigation Company 
was incorporated and in the same year the Alberta Railway and Coal Com- 
pany received authority to construct irrigation works under their char- 
ter. In 1893 charters were granted to the Alberta Irrigation Company, 
the Calgary Hydraulic Company and the Calgary Irrigation Company. 



When the Northwest Irrigation Act was passed in 1894 the necessity for 
private charters for irrigation companies ceased. 

For a time the Government of Canada did not favour irrigation for 
fear of creating a bad impression abroad respecting the North West Ter- 
ritories as a field for settlement. But the proportion of the North-West 
requiring irrigation was so small in comparison with the total area of the 
territories that such an apprehension was unwarrantable. The area com- 
prises less than 50 million acres and is watered by nine large rivers be- 
sides many small tributaries. At the southwestern corner of the area is 
a large natural reservoir, the Waterton Lakes, available to augment the 
water supply for an immense district. In due course the Government 
found that irrigation lands had become a factor in attracting settlers to 
Southern Alberta as much as the lands in the so-called fertile belt north 
of the Red Deer River and in the valley of the North Saskatchewan. 

A large portion of the territory had been granted to railways. The 
Canadian Pacific Railway Company held every odd-numbered section 
within the railway belt. That was a strip of land extending twenty-four 
miles on each side of the main line of the railway. One of the conditions 
of the grant of land to the C. P. R. by the contract of 1881 was that the 
land comprised in the railway belt should be fit for settlement. In order 
to make such lands fit for settlement, irrigation was necessary. The Com- 
pany, however, could not irrigate its own lands without benefiting the 
even numbered sections. It therefore applied to Parliament to have the 
original contract altered respecting the lands in the railway belt and to 
have lands conveyed en bloc. The area surveyed comprised about 4,952,000 
acres, of which 250,000 acres belonged to the Hudson's Bay Company by 
the deed of surrender of 1870 and 275,000 acres were school lands. Ac- 
cordingly an Act was passed by the Dominion Parliament in 1894 author- 
izing the land subsidy in the railway belt from Medicine Hat to Crowfoot 
Crossing to be granted wholly or in part in solid tracts in such area as 
agreed upon between the Government and the Company. The Act did 
not affect the Hudson's Bay Company land unless the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany consented, nor did it aff'ect school lands unless other public lands 
should be set apart in lieu thereof. 

The next step in the development of irrigation was the passing of the 
Northwest Irrigation Act in 1894 (57-58 Victoria c. 30). By this Act the 
right to the use of all water for any purpose became vested in the Crown. 
Although it is called an Irrigation Act, it is more properly called a water 
users' act. Water for domestic, irrigation, industrial, municipal and 
other purposes as well as stream measurements, survey of storage reser- 
voirs, inspection of works for the use of water, construction of drainage 
work and the granting of all licenses for the use of water, are adminis- 
tered under this Act. In order to determine the quantity of water in the 
streams and exercise intelligent control over its distribution, an elaborate 
system of topographical and hydrographic surveys were begun in 1894 



under J. S. Dennis, C. E., and in May, 1895, an irrigation office was opened 
in Calgary. 

For a time the survey work was carried on under the direct supervi- 
sion of the Minister of the Interior, but in 1902 an arrangement was made 
with the government of the North West Territories whereby irrigation 
surveys were conducted through the Commissioner of Public Works for 
the North West Territories, and the report thereon made to the Depart- 
ment of the Interior. This arrangement terminated when the Province of 
Alberta was organized. Irrigation surveys have been carried on ever since 
with more or less energy. At the present time the Government and the 
big irrigation companies have a great fund of data on the possibilities of 
irrigation farming in the semi-arid districts. 

For a number of years after the passing of the North West Irrigation 
Act, there were a great many small irrigation works undertaken to sup- 
ply water to individual holdings, as well as several larger works designed 
to irrigate an extensive acreage. Among the latter the most important 
were the Calgary Irrigation Company 45,000 acres; Springbank Irriga- 
tion Canal west of Calgary 40,000 acres ; R. A. Wallace ditch at High River 
2,600 acres ; Findley & McDougall ditch at High River, 2,600 acres ; Rob- 
ertson ditch at High River 1,265 acres ; New Oxley Ranch ditch, Standoff, 
1,850 acres; W. R. Hull ditch at Fish Creek, 1,300 acres. At the end of 
1885 there were 112 ditches with a capacity of irrigating 79,270 acres in 
the province. In 1898 the number increased to 177 ditches irrigating 
103,464 acres. By 1903 the number of canals and ditches was 163 with 
a mileage of 480 miles irrigating 623,362 acres. 

The year 1901, 1902 and 1903 were wet years and interest in irriga- 
tion by small holders declined. From that time the development of irri- 
gation schemes has been almost entirely carried on by the Canadian Pacific 
Railway Company and large corporations like the Alberta Railway and 
Irrigation Company and the Southern Alberta Land Company. 

One of the first undertakings of the Government in connection with 
irrigation surveys, was to determine the feasibility of utilizing the waters 
of the larger streams for the irrigation of large tracts of land. Prelimi- 
nary surveys were made in 1896 to locate a canal to convey the waters of 
the St. Mary River to the Lethbridge Plains. Similar surveys were made 
along the Bow River east of Calgary in the Canadian Pacific Railway 
Irrigation Block. The first of these projects was developed by the Alberta 
Irrigation Company subsequently known as the Canadian Northwest Irri- 
gation and later as the Alberta Railway and Irrigation Company and now 
controlled by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. Authority for the 
construction of works was granted in 1898. The detailed surveys were 
carried out by Mr. George G. Anderson, C. E., who has been prominently 
identified with irrigation surveys in Alberta ever since and is now con- 
sulting engineer of the Alberta Government in connection with its policy 
of guarantee of irrigation bonds. The water was turned into the canal 


in September, 1900. As a result the towns of Magrath, Raymond and 
Stirling sprang into existence and settlers flocked into the district. In 
1900 separate authorization was issued for the construction of works to 
utilize water from diff'erent sources of supply in this region. These works 
were merged in October, 1902, and amplified to utilize the water from the 
St. Mary and Milk rivers for the irrigation of the irrigable portion of 
500,000 acres. A period of fifteen years was granted for the construction 
of the necessary works. Development proceeded as settlement warranted 
and by the end of 1915 the Company had constructed 200 miles of main 
and secondary canals, not including farm laterals. The capacity of the 
main canals was 1,000 second-feet; the cost of the works was approxi- 
mately $1,368,000; the irrigable area approximately 130,000 acres, of 
which 75,000 were actually put under irrigation. By 1918 practically the 
whole of the irrigable land was disposed of to settlers and the canal mile- 
age increased to 230 miles. Further development depends upon obtaining 
increased water supply. The possibility of obtaining more water depends 
upon the issue of the International Joint Commission as to the division of 
the waters of the St. Mary and Milk rivers between the State of Montana 
and Southern Alberta. 

The second of the large projects investigated by Government engineers, 
demonstrated the feasibility of utilizing the water from the Bow River 
for the irrigation of a large tract of land extending eastward from Cal- 
gary along the main line of the C. P. R. By the Canadian Pacific Rail- 
way charter of 1881 the Company was entitled to a grant of 25 million 
acres to be selected in alternate sections within the railway belt. The 
company had the right to reject any lands not fairly fit for settlement and 
had refused to accept as part of its grant, any lands in the region between 
Moose Jaw and the Rocky Mountains, that is, in the dry belt. Sections in 
lieu of the land rejected were made in other parts of the province, but at 
the time of the final settlement in 1903 there was a balance due to the 
Company of three million acres, which it agreed to take in the dry belt 
along the main line in Alberta, if it were allowed to take it en bloc. Ac- 
cordingly the Act referred to previously in this Chapter was passed and 
the agreement confirmed. The company followed up the surveys con- 
ducted by the Government with a view to the construction of irrigation 
works, and applied for water rights. The block of land concerned was 
about 125 miles long and 50 miles wide tributary to the Bow River. For 
convenience of administration the Company divided this immense block 
into three sections, the western, the central and the eastern of approxi- 
mately equal area. 

The western section was developed first. Authority for the construc- 
tion of the works was issued April 20, 1904, to be completed within a 
period of fifteen years. A canal was constructed that heads into the Bow 
River near Calgary and traverses a tract of 600,000 acres of which 223,000 
acres are irrigable. The westerly limit of the irrigable land in this sec- 


tion is about ten miles east of Calgary and extends about 45 miles far- 
ther east. The main canal is 16 miles with secondary canals and laterals 
comprising a total length of 2,480 miles. The capacity of the main canal 
is 2,260 second-feet. The total cost of the works was about $4,827,000; 
the number of users 753 and the water rental 50 cents per irrigable acre. 
The works in this section were completed in 1911 and in August of that 
year the Company applied to the Government to make the inspection re- 
quired by law. 

Active settlement in this section began in 1908. Dissatisfaction on 
the part of some of the settlers induced the government to reclassify the 
land. The work of inspection began in 1913 and was completed in 1915. 
The net result of these surveys and reclassification was to reduce the 
irrigable area by 30 per cent. In conjunction with these investigations 
the government also reported on the climatic conditions, the temperature 
of the water in the irrigation canals and the suitability of the soil to stand 
irrigation. It was supposed the water was too cold to stimulate rapid 
normal growth, and that the soil was impregnated with alkali, which 
would rise to the surface when put under irrigation. The findings of the 
Government experts was most satisfactory. It was found the water in 
the ditch was warmer than rain water and that the occurrence of alkali 
was not frequent and was confined to small areas. It was established 
that irrigation may be as successfully pursued in Southern Alberta as 
anywhere else on the continent. 

Before the completion of the works in the western section the Canadian 
Pacific Railway Company commenced the development of the eastern sec- 
tion. The first step was to raise the level of the Bow River to obtain a head 
for the main canal. This was done by the construction of an immense 
dam at a point in the Bow River known as "Horse Shoe Bend" about 
three miles south of the Town of Bassano. The works consist of a con- 
crete spillway dam of the Ambursen type, 720 feet long, to which is joined 
an earthen embankment 780 feet long by which the level of the river is 
raised 50 feet. Water is delivered through five steel sluice gates into the 
main canal and thence by an elaborate system of sub-canals, reservoirs 
and flumes and is distributed throughout the irrigable tract. There are 
2,500 miles of canals and a reservoir with a capacity of 186,000 acre-feet. 
The cost of these works was about 10 million dollars. The water was 
turned into the main canal April 21, 1914. 

The third large project in the scheme of irrigation mapped out by the 
initial government survey, was the works constructed by the Southern 
Alberta Land Company. This was a company formed to take over a tract 
of land of 280,573 acres west of Medicine Hat, sold in 1906 to the Robins 
Irrigation Company of London, England. A condition of the sale was 
that the company should irrigate at least 25 per cent of the land. The 
water is taken from the Bow River at a point thirty miles from Calgary 
(tp. 21, rge. 5) . A diversion weir and head gates were constructed at this 


point in 1919. The level of the river was raised five feet. The canal from 
the river runs along the Blackfoot Reserve and southv^ard into Snake 
Valley for a distance of 44 miles to a Reservoir known as "Lake Mc- 
Gregor" — so-called after J. D. McGregor, one of the principal share- 
holders of the Southern Alberta Land Company. The capacity of this 
Reservoir is 360,000 acre feet or sufficient to irrigate 180,000 acres. From 
Lake McGregor a canal runs easterly for 47 miles until it reaches the 
western boundary of the tract to be irrigated. From this point onward 
the canal is tapped by sub-canals. The main canal is carried across the 
Bow River by a syphon and fifteen miles farther east another reservoir 
has been provided and a canal system constructed for the land in the 
Suffield district. The scheme when completed will have water to supply 
200,000 acres and is estimated to cost $10,000,000. 

As already pointed out, irrigation by individuals was never success- 
ful and it was realized very early in the settlement of Southern Alberta, 
that irrigation works, if not undertaken by a strong corporation, would 
have to be undertaken as a municipal or community project. As far back 
as 1884, the year in which the North West Irrigation Act was passed by 
the Parliament of Canada, the North West Assembly passed the Irriga- 
tion Ordinance. This was a measure to enable settlers in any given area, 
which was capable of being irrigated, to form themselves into an irriga- 
tion district. The Ordinance was amended and consolidated in 1898 and 
again in 1915 and in 1920 by the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. The 
main features of the original legislation have been preserved in all these 
ordinances and Acts. An irrigation district is formed after a petition 
signed by a majority of the owners representing not less than half of the 
total area of the land affected and a vote is taken in which two-thirds of 
those voting favor formation of an irrigation district in the area con- 
cerned. The management is placed in the hands of a Board of Trustees 
who are constituted by the Act, a body corporate having power to make 
by-laws, construct works in accordance with the Dominion Irrigation Act, 
make assessments, raise loans and issue bonds for which the lands irri- 
gated are a first security. By the Act of 1920 an Irrigation Council was 
created to advise the trustees of any district on the financial and engi- 
neering problems involved. But debentures must be approved by the 
Provincial Treasurer. The expenditure of the proceeds of the sales of 
debentures, contracts for the construction of irrigation works and rates of 
assessment must be approved by the Irrigation Council. 

The first mutual or municipal undertaking under the North West Dis- 
trict Irrigation Ordinance was projected in 1896 by the settlers of the 
Springback district, a tract of country west of Calgary lying between the 
Bow and the Elbow rivers, A canal 36 miles long was planned to convey 
sufficient water from the Elbow River to irrigate 21,000 acres. In addi- 
tion it was proposed to construct another canal to utilize the waters of 
the Jumping Pound Creek to irrigate 20,000 acres more. Only about ten 


miles of this system was ever constructed. The completion of the scheme 
was prevented by disagreements among- the residents and a succession of 
wet seasons which strengthened the opinion that irrigation was unneces- 
sary. The wet years from 1900 to 1907 had a deterrent effect upon irri- 
gation development, especially upon small schemes, but the return of a 
cycle of dry years beginning with 1909 and 1910 re-kindled a warm inter- 
est in the subject. This point illustrates the difficulties in promoting irri- 
gation in a semi-arid country like the basin of the South Saskatchewan. 
In wet years the farmers see no need for irrigation and conclude the in- 
vestment thereon is wasted. As soon as the dry years recur they swing 
to the opposite opinion. This was to be expected in the initial stages of 
settlement, but the collection and tabulation of rainfall records over a 
long series of years, gives the farmers reliable data upon which to base 
conclusions as to the value of irrigation. Since 1883 such records have 
been kept up by the Meteorological Service of Canada and they indicate a 
regular alternation of dry with wet years. 

In 1908 the Dominion Government established an Experimental Farm 
at Lethbridge in the semi-arid region. Half of the farm is irrigated while 
upon the other half, dry farming methods are resorted to. Accurate data 
kept for eleven years from 1908 to the end of 1918 has shown that the 
crops obtained from the irrigated portion of the farm were increased 
over the dry farming portion as follows : Wheat, 77 per cent ; Oats, 53 
per cent ; Barley, 81 per cent ; Potatoes, 105 per cent. These results have 
had a great influence upon the farmers of Southern Alberta and their 
attitude towards irrigation. Under dry farming methods it was found 
necessary to summer fallow to conserve the moisture of two years to 
get one crop. Thus twice the area of land was required. Dry farming 
also limited the farmer to grain crops and placed him at a disadvantage 
in growing live stock. By irrigating he could rotate his crops continu- 
ously and be assured of an abundant crop of timothy and alfalfa. 

In 1910 the settlers in the vicinity of Iron Springs district north of 
the City of Lethbridge, petitioned the Department of the Interior for the 
construction of irrigation works to pump water from the Old Man River. 
The proposal was found impracticable. The Government, however, con- 
tinued a survey of the district in 1913. This survey developed the fact 
that several detached tracts, comprising in all about 100,000 acres could 
be irrigated at a probable cost of from $18 to $20 per acre by diversion 
of water from the Old Man River. The reconnaissance of the area was 
completed in 1918. By that time the cost of labour and material had 
risen to such a peak that the cost of irrigation was estimated between $40 
and $50 per acre. The district was organized into irrigation districts 
under the Alberta District Irrigation Act and a strong appeal was made 
to the Dominion and Provincial Governments to give financial guarantees 
for the construction of the necessary irrigation works. The Dominion 
Government refused to advance money directly but promised to find the 


money at a low rate of interest and loan the same to the Provincial Govern- 
ment if it desired to undertake the construction of the works. 

In 1920 the Provincial Government undertook to guarantee bonds for 
the construction of irrigation works in this district in any two years of 
the debenture period. The trustees of the district were unable to sell the 
bonds with such a guarantee and finally the Alberta Government war- 
ranted a full guarantee of the irrigation bonds of this district in the 
Session of 1921. The success of the scheme is now assured and active 
development is in progress. 

In 1915 the farmers between Chin Coulee and Taber created the Taber 
Irrigation District. It was the first district to be erected under the Al- 
berta District Irrigation Act. They appealed to the Canadian Pacific 
Railway to make the surveys and construct the works. The Company 
agreed and the surveys were completed that season. Financial difficul- 
ties, however, arose because the district comprised some 8,000 acres of 
irrigable school lands which could not be pledged for the cost of irriga- 
tion. After protracted negotiations between the Alberta and Dominion 
Governments, an Act was passed by the Parliament of Canada whereby 
school lands in the Taber Irrigation district could be dealt with as if they 
were patented lands. Thereupon construction proceeded and the works 
were completed in 1920. The water is taken from the C. P. R. Reser- 
voir at Chin Coulee. The cost was $16.00 per acre with a water rental 
of 50 cents per acre at the head gates. 

Other projects are in development. The policy of the Alberta Gov- 
ernment in guaranteeing irrigation bonds will ensure a considerable ex- 
pansion in the area under irrigation. Several irrigation districts are 
formed, upon which construction will follow in due course. They are as 
follows : United Irrigation District, west of Cardston, comprising 25,000 
acres ; Sundial, Retlow and Lomond District, which is intended to irrigate 
100,000 acres; South Macleod Irrigation District, already formed with an 
irrigable area of 50,000 acres ; Lone Rock District, 8,000 acres ; Medicine 
Hat District, 15,000 acres; Lethbridge Southeastern district, 300,000 acres. 

Summing up the actual result of 20 years of irrigation in Alberta we 
have the following result : 

C. P. R. Lethbridge Extension, 130,000 acres, mileage of main canals, 
230 miles, total cost, $2,000,000 ; C. P. R. Western section, 223,226 irri- 
gable acres, mileage of canals, 1,600 miles, cost $4,500,000; C. P. R. East- 
ern section irrigable area, 440,000 acres, mileage of main canals, 2,500 
miles, cost $10,000,000. 

Canada Land and Irrigation Co., 220,640 acres irrigable, mileage of 
canals, 308 miles, cost, $6,000,000; smaller projects numbering 660, com- 
prising 113,867 acres, including project of a half section or more, cost 


Next to agriculture mining is the most important industry in Alberta. 
It is particularly associated with coal and natural gas. Gold has been 
found in paying quantities in the gravels of the North Saskatchewan 
River, Other minerals such as galena, lead, gypsum, have been found 
but not in any quantity. 

Alberta contains 85 per cent of the coal deposits of Canada and 18 
per cent of the coal deposits of the world. An exhaustive study of the 
Alberta coal fields has been made by Dr, G, M. Dawson, R. G, McConnell, 
J, B. Tyrell, and D. B. Dowling of the Geological Survey of Canada. Their 
work shows the geological structure and areal distribution of the meas- 
ures. The coal is found in three horizons distributed from the summit of 
the Rocky Mountains eastward over the entire prairie region to Mani- 
toba and from the International Boundary Line to the Mackenzie River, 
Each horizon produces coal of different qualities depending upon its age 
and distance from the mountains. The three coal horizons are as follows : 

(1) Kootenay (Early Cretaceous), 

(2) Belly River, 

(3) Edmonton (at the top of the Cretaceous). 

Kootenay Forynatioyi: — The Kootenay coals in Alberta are generally 
exposed in narrow bands in the mountains. These are here numerated 
in order from the south : 

Coleman area is estimated at 35 square miles, with 38 feet of coal in 
the section, giving an estimated content of 1,050,000,000 tons. 

Blairmore-Frank area is irregular in shape, and broken by faults and 
folds ; but assuming for it an area of 90 square miles with an estimated 
thickness of 50 feet of coal, its total content is estimated at 4,500,000,000 

Livingstone area lies north of Blairmore, and west of the Livingstone 
range of mountains. The area containing coal approximates 343 square 
miles. A maximum estimate of its coal reserve is 26,000,000,000 tons. 

Moose Mountain area, lying outside the first range of the Rocky Moun- 
tains, consists of a narrow band encircling this outlying mountain. It 
extends from near the main line of the Canadian Pacific railway, south 
to Sheep Creek. Its area is estimated at 12 square miles, with a thickness 
of 15 feet of coal in the section. This would give a probable coal content 
for the area of 200,000,000 tons. 



Cascade area is a long strip between the ranges, containing workable 
seams for about 40 miles of its length. It is estimated to contain about 
760,000,000 tons of anthracite, and of the softer grades 2,100,000,000 tons. 

Palliser area, on Panther River, is comparatively small, but with an 
area of perhaps six square miles has, possibly, a coal content of 30,000,000 

Costigan area lies east of Palliser, and is estimated in 12 square miles 
to possibly contain 90,000,000 tons — mostly bituminous coal. 

Bighorn area, between the Saskatchewan and Brazeau rivers, is esti- 
mated at 60 square miles, with a content of at least 1,400,000,000 tons. 

Belly River Formation: — The coals that belong to this horizon, grade 
generally between lignite and bituminous, and are found over an enormous 
area. Roughly measured on the map, this area is about 25,000 square 
miles. An estimate on this basis would, however, be very misleading, 
since portions are known to be either unproductive, or to contain only 
small seams of inferior coal; 5,000 square miles might be assumed as be- 
ing reasonably valuable. Four feet of coal underlying this area would 
furnish 13,000,000,000 tons. Most of the productive value is in Alberta. 
The amounts contained in the two provinces, respectively, may be esti- 
mated at 189,000,000,000 for Alberta; and 33,000,000,000 for Sas- 

The Edmonton Formation (Area in Alberta) : — The coals of this for- 
mation are generally lignites ; but in the foothills grade up to bituminous. 
The foothill areas, though but narrow bands, have a length of about 400 
miles and may have an exposed area of possibly 52,000 square miles. This 
has been estimated to have possibly 800,900,000,000 tons as a total con- 
tent, half of which is sub-bituminous coal. 

The total coal reserves of the province are by careful estimation of 
the Geological Survey of Canada as follows: 

Anthracite, 769,000,000 tons; Bituminous, 44,677,000,000 tons; Sub- 
Bituminous and lignite, 1,014,129,000,000 tons. 

Exposures of coal are so frequent in Alberta that mention is made of 
this fact by most of the early explorers. The earliest mention of coal in 
the North-West is probably by Sir Alexander Mackenzie in 1789 of a coal 
seam on the Great Bear River in the Mackenzie Valley. The beds were 
then on fire and were still on fire when Sir John Richardson passed them 
in 1848. Mackenzie states that a narrow strip of marshy, boggy ground, 
producing coal and bitumen runs along the eastern base of the Rocky 
Mountains, and he specifies the latitude — 52 degrees north, longitude 
1121/2 degrees west on the southern branch of the Saskatchewan River; 
latitude 56 degrees north, longitude 116 degrees west in the Peace River, 
as places where coal beds are exposed. 

The earliest discovery of coal in Alberta is shown on Arrowsmith's 
maps, 1801, and 1811. These maps trace the journey of Peter Fidler, 
as we have already learned in 1792 to Southern Alberta. At the mouth 


*?^.~. J^ 



of Rosebud Creek and in the vicinity of the present coal mining centre 
of Drumheller, Fidler notes "great quantities of coals." David Thomp- 
son mentions collecting bushels of coal on the North Saskatchewan after 
high w^ater, and in 1800 he discovered a bed of "pure coal" about 100 
yards belov^ the Rocky Mountain House which was used by the black- 
smith of the Fort with excellent results. Alexander Henry, in his jour- 
ney down the Saskatchewan in 1811, mentions the great seam at Goose 
Encampment, which he estimated at 30 feet in thickness. 

Gabriel Franchere, who descended the Athabaska in May, 1814, men- 
tions several veins of bituminous coal out-cropping between the Mountain 
House and the mouth of the Pembina River. His party "tried some and 
found it to burn well." 

The coal at Edmonton was noted by Sir George Simpson in 1841. He 
mentions a seam 10 feet thick running for a considerable distance along 
both sides of the river. This coal was used by the blacksmith of the Fort 
and would have been used in the stoves at the Fort but for the want of 
proper grates. Ten years later Sir John Richardson obtained specimens 
from Edmonton and considered them to be of the same horizon as the 
coal on the Mackenzie River. 

Father De Smet mentions coal in Alberta in his trip over the Rocky 
Mountains in 1845. Sir James Hector, who wintered at Edmonton in 
1858, described the coals he saw there and on the Red Deer River. In 
1859 he discovered coal on the Athabasca, and on the Pembina along the 
present line of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, and thought it was of 
the same coal-bearing strata he had observed on the Saskatchewan and 
the Red Deer rivers. The seams at Edmonton were also examined by 
Capt. Thomas Blakiston, who accompanied Captain Palliser and Dr. Hec- 
tor on this expedition. Captain Blakiston thought the beds at Edmonton 
extended up the river as far as Rocky Mountain House. 

Lord Milton and Dr. Cheadle observed a bed of coal fifteen feet to 
twenty feet thick on the Pembina. Sir Sanford Fleming and Dr. Grant 
who crossed the country in 1872 referred in their report to the coals of 
Edmonton and Pembina. 

In 1873 Dr. Selwyn descended the North Saskatchewan and recorded 
in great detail the coal seams on this river. This is the first report by an 
officer of the Canadian government. 

Discoveries in the Southern part of the province along the Interna- 
tional Boundary were made when the boundary was surveyed in 1875. 
Coal seams at Blackfoot Crossing were recorded by Professor Macoun 
in 1879. 

It was not until the construction of the C. P. R. that coal mining be- 
came an industry of commercial importance. The building of the rail- 
way through the Mountains led to the discovery of coal near Banff in 1888,* 
on the Cascade River, opposite the present Bankhead mines. Soon after, 
coal was discovered at Anthracite. The mines at Canmore were opened 


in 1888. Coal mining commenced at Medicine Hat in 1883 and at Leth- 
bridge in 1886. 

The development of the industry in the Edmonton district followed 
closely upon the growth of settlement. Shipment commenced when the 
Calgary and Edmonton railway was built into Strathcona in 1891. 

The construction of the Crowsnest Branch of the C. P. R. in 1899 
opened up what has proved to be the largest producer of any field in the 
province up to the present time. The fields along the upper reaches of the 
Athabaska and its tributaries were developed as soon as the Grand Trunk 
Pacific Railway and the Canadian Northern Railway reached the Yellow- 
head Pass. Shipping began from this field in 1911. 

About the same year the Drumheller field was brought in by the pro- 
jection of the C. N. R. eastward from Calgary towards Saskatoon. 

There are now 12,500 men employed in the coal mines of Alberta com- 
pared with 2,800 in 1906. The growth of the industry is indicated by a 
comparison of the production in five year periods since 1900 as follows: 

1900 311,450 tons 

1905 931,917 tons 

1910 2,894,469 tons 

1915 3,360,818 tons 

1920 6,908,923 tons 

The value of the annual output at the present time is over $30,000,000. 
Over $14,000,000 is paid in wages. 

In the early stages of the industry, primitive methods of handling coal 
were naturally used, but within the last ten years a great improvement 
along these lines has been made. Except in small out-of-the-way mines, 
modern plants are used and the best and safest methods are employed, 
while greater attention is being paid to the preparation or grading of coal 
for the market. 

The Coal Mines Act of Alberta secures a large measure of government 
regulation over this industry. Various commissioners have been appointed 
by the Government of Alberta to ascertain the best methods to ensure 
justice to the miners and the operators. In 1906 a commission was 
appointed to investigate conditions re hours of labor, wages and other 
phases of the industry. In the year 1908 legislation was passed limiting 
the hours of work below the ground to eight hours per day. 

A second commission investigated the conditions surrounding the 
industry in 1912. As a result of its labors a revised Coal Mines Act was 
passed by the legislature in the session of 1913. Improvements concerned 
the handling of explosives, the use of electricity, and the qualification of 
operatives responsible for the safety of the miners. 

Again in 1919 the coal industry was the subject of further inquiry by 
a Government Commission representing the Government of Alberta, the 
miners, the operators and organized labor. This commission advised 
an extension of markets in order to ensure a greater output of the mines. 


and steady employment for the miners. At present the mines are operated 
little more than half time, resulting- in dissatisfaction among the workers 
and increasing the cost of production. Shortage of railway cars, and 
misrepresentation in the size and quality of coal have led to a restriction 
of the market in places where Alberta coal comes into competition with 
American coal. Notwithstanding the number and splendid equipment of 
the Alberta mines over 21/2 million tons of coal are imported annually into 
the territory that should be supplied wholly by Alberta mines. Freight 
rates on prairie lines are a contributing factor, as well as the unfamiliarity 
of eastern consumers with the qualities of Alberta coals. Last year the 
Government of Alberta appointed a trade commissioner, Mr. Howard 
Stutchbury, and a Combustion Engineer, Mr. M. L. Hyde, to prove the 
splendid qualities of our coals. The mines of Alberta have an equipment 
sufficient to double their output, if an adequate market can be found. 

Particular attention is paid by the Government in its supervision of 
the mines to the quality of explosives and the method of shot-firing. Only 
explosives which are on the "British Permitted List" are used in the 
bituminous and anthracite mines, and all shots are fired by means of 
electric batteries, managed by duly certified shot-firers, whether gas has 
been found or not. 

In 1912 the Government established Mine Rescue stations in different 
parts of the province. An official is appointed to each station to instruct 
those interested in the use of life saving apparatus and to conduct practical 
tests of exploring- mines in order that life-saving corps may be prepared 
for any emergency that may arise. Railway cars with complete rescue 
apparatus are kept in every important mining centre in readiness to be 
hurried to the scene of any disaster. 

Since 1905 six hundred mines have been opened in Alberta. Of this 
number 276 are now in operation. Consequently 324 or 64% have been 
abandoned. During the same period it is estimated that 100,485,000 tons 
of coal have been affected. Of this amount 47,228,000 tons have been 
extracted, thus leaving over 53,000,000 tons, one half of which is lost 
beyond recovery. The total investment in mining properties since 1903 is 
placed at 37,110,775 of which $9,813,500 or 26% was invested in the mines 
that have been abandoned. 

There have been two serious mine disasters in the history of the indus- 
try. The first occurred on December 10th at Bellevue in a mine operated 
by the West Canadian Collieries. Thirty-one men lost their lives due to 
an explosion of gas caused, it is supposed, by a cave of the roof. 

The second disaster was one of the most terrible in the history of the 
Dominion. It occurred at the Hillcrest Collieries on June 19, 1914. At 
the time of the disaster 235 men were in the mine. Of those 189 perished. 
Judge A. H. Carpenter of the Bench of Alberta conducted a judicial inquiry 
into the cause of the calamity. The conclusion of the investigation was 
"That the disaster was caused by an explosion of gas, the origin and 


seat of which is unascertainable, this explosion being augmented by the 
ignition of dust throughout the mine." Both disasters occurred at nine 
o'clock in the morning. 

Since 1905 there have been 481 fatal accidents in the mines of Alberta 
including the victims of the two disasters at Bellevue and Hillcrest. Every 
100,000 tons of coal produced in the last fifteen years has cost a human 

An important and far-reaching action in the development of mining 
industries was begun by the Government of Alberta two years ago when 
preliminary research work was instituted with a view to ascertaining 
more definite knowledge of the occurrence, extent and economic value 
of the minerals of the province. This movement was due to the initiative 
of Hon. J. L. Cote, Provincial Secretary of Alberta. Experiments were 
made with the bituminous sands along the Athabasca below Fort McMur- 
ray. The salt springs in the Slave River Valley, west of Fort Fitzgerald 
were examined, and a reconnaisance of the geological structure of the 
country along the coal branch of the G. T. P., west of Edmonton. 

The success of these experiments led to the formation of a Scientific 
and Industrial Research Council, January 6, 1921. This Council was 
composed of *Hon. J. L. Cote, (Chairman), Dr. H. M. Tory, Professor 
J. A. Allan, Professor N. C. Pitcher, and J. T. Stirling (Chief Inspector 
of Mines). The research work is to be conducted at the University of 
Alberta where special laboratories have been provided. 

*Since August, 1921, Hon. Herbert Greenfield has been chairman. 


The occurrence of bitumen, natural gas, and oil has long been known 
along a portion of the Athabasca River, having been commented on by 
Sir John Richardson in 1823, by Professor John Macoun in 1875 and by 
Dr. Robert Bell in 1882. In 1890 Mr. R. G. McConnell of the Geological 
Survey of Canada made a careful examination of the Athabasca and 
Peace rivers and the country lying between, particularly for oil and gas. 
Following this report the Dominion Government bored for oil at Athabasca 
Landing. Work was commenced in 1894 and continued at intervals until 
1896. It was anticipated that the sandstones containing the oil would be 
found at 1,800 feet deep. A test hole of 1,770 feet was made, but owing 
to the incoherent character of the rocks, and the unexpected thickness of 
the overlying cretaceous strata the boring was discontinued. Traces of 
gas were found at various depths. At 245 feet the gas threw the water 
in the borehole over the derrick. Another flow at 334 feet was so strong 
that the roar was heard half a mile away. The experiment was incon- 
clusive and another boring was made at Pelican River about 100 miles 
farther down the river where the petroliferous sandstone is estimated to 
be about 700 feet below the surface. Work was commenced in 1897. The 


"tar sands" were reached at 750 feet. The boring was continued 70 feet 
below this point, "Maltha or heavy petroleum was met with, saturating 
the sands and shales in a manner similar to that found in the same lower 
Cretaceous beds where they out-crop naturally farther down the Atha- 
basca. At 820 feet an exceedingly heavy flow of natural gas under great 
pressure was struck, such as to prevent further work in the hole." (Geol. 
Survey Rept. 1898.) 

A well was also drilled at Victoria on the North Saskatchewan River 
about 100 miles below Edmonton in 1898. Next year boring was con- 
tinued until a depth of 1,840 feet was reached. Little gas was found, and 
operations were abandoned for the same cause as that found at Athabasca 

Up to the present time no development of an important character has 
been done at Victoria or at Athabasca Landing. At Pelican River a 
number of wells have been drilled by private parties, and the results seem 
to indicate gas in economic quantity. 

The greatest natural gas field yet discovered in Alberta is located 
in Southeastern Alberta, around the city of Medicine Hat and the town 
of Bow Island, 41 miles west of the latter place on the Crowsnest Pass 
branch of the C. P. R. It was first discovered in 1883 at Langevin on the 
main line of the C. P. R. in drilling for water. Two wells were sunk, the 
first to a depth of 1,155 feet, the second 1,426 feet. A flow of 50,000 cubic 
feet per day was obtained in the second well. Gas was found in a similar 
manner at,Cassels. 

About 1898 the city of Medicine Hat drilled a number of wells to a 
depth of 700 feet and found gas. The wells did not produce more than 
700,000 cubic feet per day. The old wells were deepened and new ones 
drilled to 1,000 feet where an enormous flow of gas was tapped. In 1912 
the City had 12 wells yielding each 3,000,000 cubic feet per day and 
registering a pressure of 585 pounds per square inch. The City is piped 
and the gas utilized for heat, light and power purposes. The street lights 
are kept burning all day and all night. A well at Dunmore four miles 
from Medicine Hat gave a pressure of 600 pounds. 

The greatest flow of gas was found at Bow Island. One well (Old 
Glory) has a capacity of 8,865,000 cubic feet per day and registered 810 
pounds pressure. It is one of a series of wells used by the Canada Western 
Natural Gas, Light, Heat and Power Co, Ltd. to supply the towns of 
Southern Alberta with natural gas. 

Gas has also been found at several other points in the province, notably 
at Tofield, Vegreville, Castor, Wetaskiwin and Morinville. In 1914 gas 
in economic quantities was discovered at Viking, 73 miles east of Edmon- 
ton. The discovery indicates a large field. Since 1914 ten wells have been 
drilled in the Viking field, the ten wells registering a total open flow of 
48,000,000 cubic feet per day, and an average rock pressure of 800 lbs. 
per square inch. The field has been piped to supply the City of Edmonton. 



Oil has not been found in Alberta at any point in economic quantity 
up to the present time, but the indications of its presence at various places 
have induced a great many prospectors to take the field and considerable 
sums have been spent in boring. Like natural gas, oil is suspected to 
occur over a wide area. 

"The Cretaceous rocks which underlie almost the whole of Alberta have 
as their basal member, where exposed on the plains, the Dakota sandstone, 
a porous rock suitable for oil. It in turn, along its exposed borders at 
least, rests upon the Devonian, and is over-lain by shales that would form 
an impervious cover which might retain any oil that found its way into 
the Dakota sands." (Geol. Survey Rept. 1909). The stratigraphy of 
Alberta and of the country north to the Lower Mackenzie Valley is not 
unlike that south of the international boundary line. Similar structures 
prevail southward to the Gulf of Mexico. The discovery of many produc- 
tive wells in Texas, Oklahoma, Wyoming and more recently in Montana 
close to the Alberta border, has stimulated field investigations in different 
parts of the Province. 

The Dakota sands are exposed along the Athabasca and other places 
in Northern Alberta. They are charged with tar to the extent of 12 per 
cent of the whole mass. The tar represents the residue of petroleum 
which has escaped along the exposure. Small quantities of petroleum are 
still escaping. McConnell in his report of the Athabasca in 1893 estimates 
the tar sands at 1,000 square miles, and the total content at 4,700,000,000 
tons. No doubt a great quantity of oil has escaped but it is altogether 
improbable that this process has gone on indefinitely and that all the oil 
has been drained off. "That the distribution of oil is probably extensive 
is indicated by the finding of tar in the sands near the surface, far to the 
south, in the Edmonton country, apparently formed by the limited escape 
of oil from minor fractures in the rocks. Oil Seepages also occur in South- 
western Alberta, in South Kootenay Pass and the Flathead Valley." (Geol. 
Survey Rept. 1909.) Since McConnell's report of 1893 a great deal of 
exploration of the tar sand deposits along the Athabaska River has been 
made, notably by Mr. S. C. Ells, of the Department of Mines of Canada, 
and it is known now that an area of at least 15,000 square miles is under- 
lain by this formation. The thickness of the formation varies from 125 
feet to 225 feet. Dr. T. 0. Bosworth, Chief Geologist of the Imperial Oil 
Company, Limited, speaking at an Industrial Congress held in Edmonton 
in 1919, made the following statement: 

"In the district of McMurray on the Athabaska River we have the 
largest natural exposure of oil in the world. It is interesting to consider 
the amount of oil in this territory. For this purpose we will suppose the 
area to be 15,000 square miles, the average thickness 50 feet and the 
average yield to be 10 gallons per ton. A simple calculation gives the 


result as 30,000 million barrels of oil. This is an immense quantity — it is 
six hundred times the world's annual production." 

Considerable prospecting has been done for oil in Southern Alberta at 
Oil Creek, the Old Man River and Okotoks. A number of wells have been 
drilled. One, 1,120 feet deep is stated to have yielded at the outset 300 
barrels per day, and another 1,170 feet is estimated to be capable of 
producing 25 barrels per day. 

The Imperial Oil Co. of Canada discovered oil at Fort Norman 1,800 
miles north of Edmonton in August, 1920. Little information as to the 
quantity and known possibilities of this field have yet been made known. 
The discovery, however, has been sufficient to compel the government to 
issue regulations to control development and provide for the administra- 
tion of justice, and the filing and developing of claims. Hundreds of claims 
have been taken up by prospectors in close proximity to the holdings of 
the Liiperial Oil Co. and the summer of 1921 will witness the invasion of 
hundreds more. Thousands of dollars are being spent at the present writ- 
ing in preparing means of transportation by steamers, gasoline boats and 
aeroplanes. The first aeroplane to reach the Mackenzie landed at Fort 
Simpson, March 28, 1921. 

Since 1921 most of the prospecting and drilling for oil in Alberta has 
taken place in what is known as the Edmonton-Wainwright Field. Late 
in 1921 the Imperial Oil commenced drilling at Fabyan. At 2,727 feet 
oil and gas were found. Two more wells were drilled by the British 
Petroleums (Ltd.) in 1923, one of which produced 200 barrels of fluid oil 
per day. 


At numerous points along the Athabasca River and particularly at 
Fort McMurray the "tar sand" deposit or asphalt softens under the sun's 
heat and flows down in great masses below. At a temperature of about 60 
degrees Fahrenheit it has the consistency of hard cheese and may be cut 
into blocks. So much of the asphalt has flowed down and such great 
masses have accumulated at various points that a hard crust composed of 
sand and moss has formed over the surface. Holes are cut in the crust and 
the tar or asphalt collected in barrels by means of wooden spatulas. It is 
used in the North by the Hudson's Bay Company and the mission stations, 
for covering boats and roofs and there is no doubt that it will eventually 
be used as pavements, and insulating material on a large scale when rail- 
way communication is established to this point. 


A few miles north of the Alberta boundary occur the famous salt 
springs of the North on Salt River, which flows into the Slave River. The 
basins of the springs are encrusted with a deposit of salt of excellent 


quality. From this source the people of the Mackenzie Valley have secured 
their salt supply for years. Recent borings have proved enormous salt 
beds at a depth of about 600 feet at Fort McMurray. 


On all the rivers running eastward from the Rocky mountains to the 
international boundary where prospecting has been done, gold has been 
found, but in the form of such fine scales, and particles so minute as to 
require the employment of mercury in order to collect the same. 

The North Saskatchewan has, hitherto, been by far the most important 
river upon which gold mining operations have been carried on, and is the 
only one which has offered a continuous and considerable output of gold. 
The length of the river upon which work has been found to pay under 
favorable conditions, is about 120 miles with Edmonton as a centre. Up 
to 1898 gold washing had been performed almost entirely by hand, or, with 
the aid of very antiquated appliances. Subsequently dredges were intro- 
duced, but judging from results, these do not seem to have proved very 
successful, as the gold output has materially diminished. In 1895, 1896 
and 1897 as much as $50,000 per annum is reported to have been received 
from the Saskatchewan district. 




It is purposed to deal with the subject in this chapter under the heads 
of Legislation, Organization, Wages, Strikes and Industrial Disputes. 


Labor is a subject over which both the Federal and Provincial gov- 
ernments exercise control, each within the limits assigned by the Con- 
stitution. In this chapter particular attention will be given to those 
laws passed by the Territorial and Provincial authorities. 

At the time of the transfer of Rupert's Land and Northwestern Terri- 
tory in 1870, the laws of England were in force in those regions. In 
order to avoid a conflict of laws, the Dominion Parliament expressly 
enacted in 1886 (49 Vict., c. 25) that the laws of England as they existed 
on July 15, 1870, were to be in force as far as applicable to the 
Territories except as the same had been repealed or altered at the passing 
of the Act or would thereafter be repealed or altered by the Parliament 
of Great Britain, the Parliament of Canada, or the acts and ordinances 
of the Legislative Assembly of the North West Territories or any prov- 
ince created out of the said Territories. This law, of course, affected 
labor and the law of England as it existed on July 15, 1870, except 
as the same had been repealed or modified, applied to the workers of the 
Territories. Consequently, many of the rigorous doctrines of the Com- 
mon Law were in force in Western Canada. Very soon, however, the 
North West Council and later the Assembly of the Territories began 
giving attention to special legislation dealing with the rights and the 
protection of the workers along the same lines and often in advance of 
the labor legislation of the older provinces of Canada. This legislation 
may be rightly divided into enactments respecting wages, protection of 
workmen in the course of their employment, hours of labor, female and 
child labor, and compensation for loss of life or injuries sustained in 
the course of employment. 

With respect to wages, many laws have been passed with the intention 
of securing for the workmen the wages they have earned. The first was 
a clause in the Master and Servants Ordinance passed in 1873. This 
ordinance embodied the exact terms of the Act passed by the Legislature 



of Manitoba in 1871. In 1879 a new law on this subject was passed by 
the North West Council. The law has been amended from time to time 
to contain practically the same terms as the original ordinance. As it 
stands today, contracts for personal service for periods of more than 
one year shall be in writing. The penalty for violation on the part of 
servants is a fine not exceeding $30.00 or imprisonment not exceeding 
one month. On the other hand, the ordinance provides a summary 
method for the collection of wages by a servant from an unjust employer 
and protection against illegal discharge. 

A Mechanics Lien Law was first enacted in 1884. In 1906 the law 
was revised and many features introduced for the benefit of workmen. 
The principle of giving liens to the workman upon the works, buildings 
or material they help to produce was extended to cover threshers in 1895, 
threshers' employees 1913, woodmen, 1913. These laws were largely 
the result of western conditions. In harvest time there is annually a 
great influx of temporary labor from the eastern provinces to take off 
the harvest and assist in threshing. A great deal of work is done at 
various times of the year in the unsettled areas, such as cutting logs and 
lumber. The workmen come from all parts of the country. They have 
no homes here and unless they are promptly paid, or unless their wages 
are secured, suffering and injustice would in many instances be caused 
by either dishonesty, carelessness or insolvency of their employers. The 
various lien acts make the wages of the workman or mechanic a first 
charge upon the product of his labor. In 1886 the directors of companies 
were made liable to clerks, laborers and servants for six months' wages 
and when the Winding Up Ordinance was passed in 1903, three months' 
wages of clerks, laborers and servants was made a preferred claim.. 
Claims for wages or salaries in excess of this amount rank as ordinary 
debts. Similar provisions were embodied in the Preferential Assign- 
ments Act of 1907 and the Creditors Relief Act of 1910. A fair wage 
law has been in force since 1907 on all railway contracts upon lines sub- 
sidized by the Provincial and Dominion Governments. 

A minimum wage in shops and factories and offices was imposed in 
1917 by the Factories Act, of $1.50 per shift for all persons and $1.00 
per shift for apprentices. Since 1893 a minor may sue for wages in the 
same way as if of full age. With respect to attaching wages and salaries, 
all provincial civil servants are under a special law which gives the 
Provincial Treasurer the powers of a judge to determine the applications 
of a creditor and to withhold and to pay over to the creditor the debt 

The beginning of the coal industry rendered it necessary to have legis- 
lation regulating conditions of workmen in and about the mines. The 
first legislation was enacted in 1893 but with the growth of the coal min- 
ing industry the law has been changed at various times, viz., 1898, 1906, 
1913 and 1920, to meet new conditions and to grant increased provisions 





for safety. Several commissions have been appointed and the conditions 
surrounding coal mines in Alberta thoroughly investigated. Representa- 
tives of the mine owners, miners and the public have sat on these commis- 
sions and it may be said at the present time, the law is as satisfactory 
as it is possible for all interests to devise. 

The Provincial Railway Act contains many provisions for the safety 
of railway employees in the construction of bridges, tunnels, the opera- 
tion of trains and the use of safety appliances. The Act gives the Minis- 
ter of Railways large powers for enforcing the law and the regulations. 

The Factory Act of 1917 provides for guarding machinery in accord- 
ance with regulations prescribed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council. 
Coal oil, gas, or any explosive or inflammable material must be stored so 
as to avoid accidents as far as possible. Other provisions of the Act 
deal with safety of hoists, elevators, the prevention of fire in such a way 
as to reduce the probability of accidents and loss of life to the lowest 
possible minimum. 

Proper sanitation in factories, shops and offices is provided for by 
the Factory Act and Public Health Act. Steam boilers are regularly 
inspected by Government inspectors and no one is allowed to operate an 
engine without a Government certificate. The Steam Boilers Act is one 
of the oldest in the list of protective legislation, being enacted in 1897. 
Chauffeurs must be licensed. 

Important acts passed in recent years that indicate the strength of 
organized labor are "The Act for the Protection of Persons Employed in 
the Construction of Buildings and Excavations 1913"; "Act for the Pro- 
tection of Electrical Workers 1917" ; and the "Act for the Protection of 
Employees of Public Utilities 1915." 


The hours of labor have been the subject of much discussion in labor 
circles and in the Legislature within the last few years. One of the first 
enactments on this subject was contained in the Municipal Ordinance of 
the North West Territories in 1897 in which powers were given to 
municipalities to pass by-laws enforcing early closing hours in wholesale 
and retail shops and stores or other places where a mercantile business 
was carried on. Greater importance was given to the law on this subject 
by the Early Closing Act of 1912 applicable to towns and cities of not 
less than 1,000 inhabitants. But of later years the Act has been made 
applicable to all towns and villages. The early closing hour is limited to 
6 p. m. except one day in the week which must not be earlier than 12 
o'clock noon. In 1908 the hours for coal miners working underground 
were limited by a special Act, to eight hours per day. The Factory Act 
1917 and amendments provide that the hours of labor for any person 
during a day shift shall not be earlier than 7 a. m. nor later than 6 p. m., 


and that a night shift shall not exceed eight hours. One hour is allowed 
to a workman at noon and since 1909 every employee may leave his work 
any time between 12 o'clock and 3 o'clock on polling day for the purpose 
of recording his vote, without deduction of time by his employer. 

Child and female labor in mines has been prohibited since 1898. Boys 
under 12 years and women or girls of any age may not be employed 
underground in any mine. The Children's Protection Act passed in 1909 
and amended in 1912 prohibits the employment of young children in street 
trades such as express or despatch messengers, vendors of newspapers or 
small wares and bootblacks, unless such children have the written au- 
thority of their parents or guardians. Such children are not permitted 
to carry on any street trade after 8 p. m. in the months of December, 
January or February or after 9 p. m. or during school hours throughout 
the rest of the year. Employment of children under the age of fourteen 
years during school hours is sternly prohibited except in certain circum- 
stances to be decided by competent officials under the Truancy Act. 

In 1919 the Legislature of Alberta abolished private employment 
bureaus and established a Government Employment Bureau to act as a 
clearing house and to provide facilities for finding employment and for 
distributing male and female labor throughout the province. This law 
was enacted as a co-ordinating measure with the Federal law on the 
same subject passed in 1920. 

Compensation for workmen or employees injured or killed in the 
course of their employment is now largely governed by the Workmen's 
Compensation Act of 1920. Previous to any legislation on this subject, 
the law of England, as far as applicable, was in force, consequently that 
antiquated and barbarous maxim of the Com.mon Law, viz., that the right 
of action for injuries sustained by workmen is terminated by the death 
of either party, was a part of our law. The rigor of this law was to 
some extent mitigated by an Ordinance passed in 1884 entitled "An 
Ordinance respecting Compensation to the families of persons killed by 
accidents." This law conferred a right of action on the wife, husband, 
parent or child whose death had been caused by the wrongful act or 
neglect of another, if commenced within twelve months from the death 
of the deceased person (R. 0. 1888, c. 55). 

Another doctrine of the Common Law in force in the Territories was 
that of common employment. By the old rule as it stood until 1900 a 
workman could not make his master or employer responsible for injuries 
due to the negligence or wrongful act of a fellow servant, but in that 
year the Legislative Assembly of the North West Territories passed an 
ordinance abolishing this doctrine in the Territories and from that date 
negligence of a fellow workman is not a defence in an action for tort 
against an employer or a master. The most important legislation on this 
subject is found in the Compensation Act of Alberta. The Act was first 
passed in 1908, largely through the influence of the Hon. C. W. Cross, the 


first Attorney-General of the Province. The principles of the Act were 
novel to the employers of the Province and were strenuously opposed by 
many employers. Gradually, however, the justice and humanity of the 
new law was recognized by the majority of the employers, and an equi- 
table compensation law is now regarded as indispensable in any proper 
social system. The Act was revised and enlarged in 1918 to bring it 
more in harmony with conditions that have developed with the industrial 
growth of the Province during the last decade. 

The Workmen's Compensation Act of 1908, the provisions of which 
were extended by the Compensation Act of 1918, introduced a wholly new 
principle which is really in the direction of compulsory assurance, the 
primary liability being placed on the industry in which the workman is 
engaged. The duty created is a new statutory one, a duty which is wholly 
independent of any wrong-doing or negligence by the employer, but is 
made by statute part of every contract of employment to which the Act 


As in the other provinces of Canada, organizations for regulations 
between workmen and masters or for imposing restrictive conditions on 
the conduct of any trade or business, have been authorized since the first 
Trade Union Act of Canada passed in 1872. Any seven or more members 
of a trade union may, by subscribing to the rules of the union and by 
complying with the terms of the Trade Union Act, become registered 
provided the purposes of the trade union are not contrary to the laws 
of Canada. The fundamental unit in labor organizations is the local 
union made up of the craftsmen or workers in a particular trade or call- 
ing in a given community. The local union is generally attached to a 
larger organization having either national or international jurisdiction. 
In certain cases the union may have no affiliation and is independent. 
The local has its own officers and is directly affiliated with the central 
or controlling body from which it derives its charter. Most of the 
unions in this Province as in the other provinces of Canada, are affiliated 
with the American Federation of Labor and the Trades and Labor Con- 
gress of Canada. On the other hand, a few unions belong to purely na- 
tional organizations such as the Federal Association of Letter Carriers, 
Civil Service Federation of Canada, Canadian Brotherhood of Stationary 
Engineers and Dominion Railway Mail Clerks Association. Some of these 
are affiliated with the Trades and Labor Congress of Canada or Canadian 
Federation of Labor. Of the 224 local unions in Alberta in 1920, 192 
belonged to the American Federation of Labor or some other interna- 
tional central body. Twenty-nine had national affiliations only, while 
three were wholly independent unions. The total trade union member- 
ship reported in 1920 was 15,272. 

The chief central bodies governing the activities of organized labor 


are: — American Federation of Labor, the Trades and Labor Congress 
of Canada and the Canadian Labor Congress. The Trades and Labor 
Congress is largely representative of international unions in Canada, 
the membership being made up from the unions chartered by the Ameri- 
can Federation. It concedes to the American Federation of Labor the 
authority to charter Federal unions in Canada, that is, bodies over which 
no central international organization exercises jurisdiction. The Con- 
gress issues charters to unions of public service employees as well as to 
trades and labor councils and provincial federations of labor. The Ameri- 
can Federation of Labor recognizes the Congress as the mouthpiece of 
Canadian union men in dealing with legislative policies, but in respect 
to trade controversies and jurisdictional disputes, the American Federa- 
tion has full control. The membership of the Congress is composed of: 
(1) Delegates from Provincial Federations, trades and labor councils and 
such Federal labor unions as may be granted charters; (2) delegates 
from local international organizations and other such locals of Canadian 
national or non-international as do not encroach on the jurisdiction of 
recognized international unions. 

The Canadian Federation of Labor is a national organization whose 
members are not in sympathy with international unionism. It issues 
charters to trades councils and craft unions which apply for affiliation. 
It dates from 1902, first being known as the National Trades and Labor 
Congress. The present name was adopted in 1908. At present it com- 
prises 15 central organizing bodies most of which have members in Al- 
berta. The Canadian Brotherhood of Stationary Engineers and Firemen 
has its headquarters at Edmonton. It was formed in June, 1919, and 
now has nine branches in Alberta. 

Between the local union and the grand central governing body like 
the American Federation of Labor or the Trades and Labor Congress of 
Canada, there are various forms of federation such as the District Coun- 
cil, the Provincial Federation and the Trades and Labor Council. The 
best known of these bodies is possibly the Trades and Labor Council. 
Trades and Labor Councils exist in Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge and 
Medicine Hat. They consist of delegates from the various local unions 
in each city and usually hold monthly or fortnightly meetings. The ma- 
jority of unions in these cities are affiliated with the Trades and Labor 
Council and contribute to the funds of the Council a per capita assess- 
ment. The Councils are voluntary bodies and have no power to issue 
charters to local unions. They deal with matters of common interest to 
the workers of the community and have a powerful influence in moulding 
public opinion on many questions of civic and provincial policy. 

With a view to bringing together dis-united local branch unions for 
the purpose of dealing collectively with matters affecting trade conditions 
and other affairs, a number of kindred trades have formed federations, 
each unit electing delegates and contributing by a per capita tax to the 


funds necessary to support them. The first to be mentioned is the Al- 
berta Federation of Labor, organized in 1912 and chartered by the Trades 
and Labor Congress of Canada. This Federation is made up of Trades 
and Labor Councils, international and national local branch unions and 
independent federal labor unions. Annual meetings are held at which 
mainly legislative matters concerning wage earners are considered. Next 
there are delegate bodies representing particular groups of allied occu- 
pations such as the building trades, printing trades, and railway em- 
ployees. Five such bodies are in operation in Alberta, viz. : The Building 
Trades Committee of the Calgary Trades and Labor Council, comprising 
eight unions and 843 members; the Printing Trades Council of Edmon- 
ton, comprising four unions and 165 members ; the Grand Trunk Railway 
System Federation; the Edmonton, Dunvegan & British Columbia Rail- 
way System Federation; and the Edmonton Civic Service Association. 

A still closer grouping of local unions exists in the District Councils 
or conference boards. The jurisdiction of these bodies varies. Sometimes 
it is confined to one locality where two or more locals of the same craft 
exist. In other instances it includes all local branches of a given trade 
within a stated area. These district organizations are supported by the 
usual democratic method of trade union organization, viz., by a per capita 
tax on the branches comprising the membership. They deal with trade 
and other matters considered to be in the interests of the membership 
which can be better dealt with by a representative conference or board 
than by individual locals. There are five such councils in Alberta at the 
present time : 

(a) Calgary Joint Carpenters District Council, two unions, 520 

(b) United Brotherhood of Joiners and Carpenters of Edmonton, 
two unions, 300 members. 

(c) International Association of Machinists, 68 unions, 6,000 mem- 

(d) Western Canada Conference of Typographical Unions, 13 unions, 
1,000 members. 

(e) International Brotherhood of Steam Shovel and Dredge men, 
four unions, 328 members. 

Among the important labor organizations operating in Alberta are 
those whose members are employed on the railroads and who are organ- 
ized into local lodges at the various divisional points of the railway lines. 
These are the local brotherhood committees designed to provide delegate 
bodies which include grievance, adjustment, protective and legislative 
boards. They deal with conditions of employment, the settlement of dis- 
putes and cooperation in various ways with the railway company. The 
list of organizations of this class is given below separately with the names 
of the railroads over which the Committees exercise jurisdiction : 


(1) General Adjustment Committee of the Brotherhood of Locomo- 
tive Engineers of the Edmonton, Dunvegan and B. C. Railway. 

(2) Adjustment Committee of the Railway Conductors of the Cana- 
dian National Railway lines west. 

(3) Railway Conductors of the Edmonton, Dunvegan and B. C. 

(4) General Grievance Committees of the Locomotive Firemen and 
Engine men of the Canadian Northern Railway. 

(5) General Grievance Committee of the Railroad Trainmen of the 
Canadian Pacific Railway lines west. 

(6) General Grievance Committee of the Railroad Trainmen of the 
Edmonton, Dunvegan and B. C. Railway. 

Mention should also be made of the Miners' organizations. As the 
mines of Alberta are all coal mines, the Western Federation of Miners 
which embraces workers in metaliferous mines, are not represented in 
the province. The coal miners of Alberta belong to the United Mine 
Workers of America. This organization is essentially industrial in char- 
acter and includes all workers in and around coal mines. It is adminis- 
tered through a system of districts, sub-districts and local branches, all 
of which must be chartered by the International Body, United Mine Work- 
ers of America. The Coal miners of Alberta are under the jurisdiction 
of district No. 18 of the United Mine Workers of America. This district 
was formed on November 9th, 1903 and embraces also the coal mines of 
the mainland of British Columbia. The first local of the United Mine 
Workers Association in Alberta was formed at Bellevue in June 1903. 


The labor organizations dealt with in the preceding paragraphs all 
represent craft unionism. There are other forms of labor organization 
that may be classed under the head of industrial unionism; the latter 
forms were formerly represented by the International Workers of the 
World, but in later years by what is known as the One Big Union. Indus- 
trial unionism is bitterly opposed to craft unionism and one of the most 
engrossing episodes in the whole history of labor in Alberta as well as in 
Canada, has been the struggle in the last three years between craft unions, 
united with the American Federation of Labor and the Trades and Labor 
Council of Canada, and the One Big Union. Though the din of battle is 
still resounding, the victory unquestionably has fallen on the banners of 
craft unionism. The membership of the One Big Union has steadily 
declined since it reached the peak in 1919. 

The International Workers of the World began to operate in Canada 
in 1906 and during the next six or seven years were very active in Alberta 
and British Columbia, but rapidly declined until in 1914 there were only 
two locals in the province. The organization appealed with most success 


to the unskilled workers. The general plan of organization provided for 
a structure composed of : 

(a) Industrial unions embracing all the workers of a given industry 
in a given locality. 

(b) National industrial unions consisting of local industrial unions 
of the same industry. 

(c) Departmental organizations combining national industrial unions 
of closely allied industries. 

Following the proscription of the Industrial Workers of the World in 
the United States in 1918, the Canadian Government by Order in Council 
Sept. 24, 1918, under the authority of the War Measures Act of 1914, 
declared the I. W. W. to be an unlawful association in addition to thirteen 
other revolutionary groups operating in Canada. Since that time the 
I. W. W. has not been heard of in Alberta except so far as that organiza- 
tion was the sinister progenitor of the 0. B. U. 

Opposition craft unionism developed slowly in Western Canada. A 
resolution favoring industrial unionism passed the Trades and Labor 
Congress of Canada held at Calgary in 1911. In 1912 the Vancouver 
Trades and Labor Council circularized the western unions for an expres- 
sion of opinion on the subject. It was not, therefore, until 1912 that the 
agitation became serious. The question was warmly discussed in Win- 
nipeg in December 1918 at the Convention of District No. 4 of the Railway 
Employees Department of the American Federation of Labor, but the 
real struggle between the two forms of unionism began at Calgary in 
March 1919, at a Conference of labor representatives from the four 
western provinces. At this meeting the 0. B. U. was launched. The Con- 
vention recommended the immediate reorganization of the workers along 
industrial lines, so that by their industrial strength they could enforce 
their demands. It recommended the unions to sever their connection 
with other national or international parent organizations and provided 
for a referendum vote on the question. To execute the plan of the Con- 
vention, a central committee, which afterwards constituted the general 
executive of the 0. B. U., was elected. The names on this Committee 
should be recorded, for possibly no body of men in the whole history of 
the west, ever raised such profound emotions of hope on the one hand 
and fear and doubt on the other. In the minds of thousands within the 
labor ranks and without, the fear of revolution became real and menacing. 
The executive was as follows: W. A. Pritchard, Vancouver; R. J. Johns, 
Winnipeg; Jos. R. Knight, Edmonton; V. R. Midgley, Vancouver; Jos. 
Naylor, Cumberland, B. C. In addition to the general executive, Provincial 
Committees were elected representing each of the four provinces of West- 
ern Canada. Alberta's representatives were Carl Berg, Edmonton ; Donald 
McNab, Lethbridge; W. Rolling, Brule Mines; Mrs. Geo. L. Corse and J. 
Marshall of Calgary. Ballots were distributed among the various unions 
to get an expression of opinion on the 0. B. U. principle and also on the 


advisability of a general strike on June 1, 1919 to establish the six-hour 
working day. Contributions were solicited from the unions and those that 
responded by voting union funds had their charters promptly cancelled 
by their parent organizations. Little interest was taken in the new move- 
ment by the unions of eastern Canada, but by the end of May, Secretary 
Midgley of the 0. B. U. issued a statement that the unions from Port 
Arthur, Ontario to Victoria, British Columbia, were overwhelmingly in 
favor of the six-hour day and industrial unionism. Of the 41,365 reported 
trade unionists in Western Canada, 24,239 voted for the 0. B. U. and 5,975 
against. Medicine Hat was the only city in Alberta that gave a majority 
for the 0. B. U., the Trades and Labor Council supporting it by a vote 
of 22 to 8. In Calgary, 34 local branch unions out of a total of 58 voted 
on the question ; 14 of these were unanimously opposed. The remaining 20 
gave 728 votes in favor of and 951 votes against the 0. B. U. In Edmon- 
ton only 16 unions voted out of a total of 62. Eight unions opposed the 
0. B. U. and of the remaining eight, 646 were recorded in favor and 683 
against the 0. B. U. Eight unions out of 18 in Medicine Hat voted, giving 
123 for and 51 against the 0. B. U., while two unions were unanimously 
in favor. In Lethbridge six unions out of twenty-three voted, showing 
seven votes in favor and 93 against the O. B. U. Two unions were unani- 
mous in their opposition. The vote of the miners is not included in these 
figures, but throughout district 18 the vote of the locals was largely in 
favor of the new form of industrial organization. 

Following the vote a second Conference was called and met in Calgary 
June 11, 1919, to form a Constitution for the new organization and to 
further its cause. Meanwhile the celebrated Winnipeg strike intervened 
and spread to all the important cities of Western Canada. By the time of 
the next meeting of the 0. B. U. which was scheduled to come off in Octo- 
ber, the officers were required to attend court in connection with the trial 
of several strikers arrested, it was alleged, for conspiracy and sedition. 
The convention subsequently met in Winnipeg in January, 1920. It re- 
solved to exclude all workers from the 0. B. U. who held a card from an 
international union, or any other union card. The Winnipeg Defense 
Committee asked the Convention to take a vote on the question of a general 
strike to secure the release from jail of the Winnipeg strikers and to ask 
the cooperation of the workers of Great Britain. The Convention did not 
go so far as to endorse such a request. A new Executive Board of eight 
members was elected as follows : Chairman, W. A. Pritchard ; Secretary- 
Treasurer, V. R. Midgley; E. Winch, representing the lumbermen; P. M. 
Christopher, representing the miners; T. E. Roberts, the metal workers; 
R. J. Johns, railroad workers ; Jos. Naylor, workers west of Rocky Moun- 
tains; W. H. E. Logan and H. Cottrell, central district; Jos. R. Knight, 
eastern division. 

The activities and propaganda of the 0. B. U. were vigorously com- 
batted by a majority of the trade unionists of Alberta, as will be seen from 




the statistics of the vote referred to above. The fight in Alberta was led 
by Alex Ross of Calgary, now Minister of Public Works and representing 
labor in the Government of Alberta ; Robert Livett and Frank Wheatley of 
Bankhead and A. Farmilo of Edmonton (the last mentioned being general 
organizer of the American Federation of Labor), and other leaders in the 
craft unions of the province. 

In April the Edmonton Trades and Labor Council cancelled the cre- 
dentials of the delegates of the unions which had supported the One Big 
Union on the ground that their action was a violation of the constitution 
of the American Federation of Labor. The unions concerned were the 
locals of the Federal Labor Union of Canada, the United Brotherhood of 
Carpenters and Joiners, the International Association of Machinists and 
the Metal Workers. The two Edmonton lodges of the Brotherhood of 
Railway Carmen and the Edmonton local of the Retail Clerks Protective 
Association defected to the 0. B. U. 

A few weeks later the whole body of the unions in District 18 of 
the United Mine Workers of America deserted the International for the 
One Big Union. The Executive of the Mine Workers Association sent 
a commission into Alberta and British Columbia to stabilize the situation 
and win the miners back to the International. Failing this object, the 
charter of District 18 was revoked on July 28th. The commission, how- 
ever, continued its activities and after a time won back a number of 
locals while the dissentients formed a new organization called District 
No. 1 Mine Department of the One Big Union with eleven local unions 
under its jurisdiction. An active propaganda was carried on throughout 
the year by the Provincial Committee of Alberta, publishing for a time 
"The Soviet" in Edmonton similar to the "0. B. U. Bulletin" in Winnipeg 
and the "Red Flag" in Vancouver. The movement in Western Canada 
as well as in Alberta is indicated by statistics published at the end of 
1919. There were eight central labor councils; two district boards and 
101 local unions mostly situated in Western Canada, with a total mem- 
bership of 41,150. 

During 1920 the 0. B. U. steadily declined in Alberta and all through 
Western Canada, although two special organizers, Jos. R. Knight for 
Eastern Canada and P. M. Christopher for Western Canada, were kept 
in the field all year. The organization made the most strenuous efforts 
to disrupt the existing local unions. The O. B. Unions among the miners 
instigated strikes at various points. In September, 1920, a special con- 
vention of the 0. B. U. was held in Calgary to protest against the agree- 
ments made between the locals of the United Mine Workers Association 
and the coal operators and to drive the United Mine Workers from Can- 
ada. The operators, however, refused to recognize the 0. B. U. and with 
the support of the Department of Labor concluded an agreement with 
the members of the U. M. W. granting increases in wages and binding 
themselves to employ only members of the United Mine Workers of 


America. Threats and appeals were made by the 0. B. U. forces to have 
the members of the U. M. W. break their agreement. The Coal Opera- 
tors Association applied for an injunction and succeeded in preventing 
the O. B. U. officials and members from interfering with the employees 
of the mining companies who desired to work. 

At the second annual convention held in Port Arthur, Ontario, in 
September the Lumber Workers Union of the 0. B. U. Central Labor 
Council of Edmonton withdrew from the organization. Other defections 
crippled the organization. By the end of the year sixty-six local units 
of the 101 in existence at the end of 1919 had passed out of existence, 
two had deserted, leaving only 50 weak and exhausted in their futile 
propaganda against the internationals. Meanwhile, the membership had 
declined to 5,000. 

The growth of unionism in Alberta followed closely upon the develop- 
ment of the material and industrial life of the Province. The first unions 
were naturally the transport unions in connection with the Canadian 
Pacific Railway. The first union in Alberta was formed at Medicine Hat, 
January 6, 1887. This was Cascade Lodge, No. 342, of the Brotherhood 
of Locomotive Firemen with A. L. Morton of Calgary, president, and 
Jas. H. Smeaton, secretary. A lodge of the Locomotive Engineers was 
formed in the same year at Medicine Hat, William Love, president, and 
R. D. Smith, secretary. Two years later a lodge of the Railroad Trainmen 
was formed at Medicine Hat and in 1890 the Order of Railroad Con- 
ductors was organized at the same place with William Crawford, presi- 
dent, and T. C. Blatchford, secretary. As far as known, the first union 
formed in Calgary was the local of the Railroad Carmen of America in 
March, 1900. It was followed soon afterwards by a local of the Inter- 
national Association of Machinists. 

The miners were the next class of workers to organize in the prov- 
ince. There was a local of the Provincial Working Men's Associations of 
Miners in Lethbridge in 1901 with Thos. Farrer, president. This organ- 
ization was superseded in 1903 by the United Mine Workers of America, 
which, as already noted, entered the province in March, 1903. 

The ten year period, 1901-1910, was one of great activity in labor 
circles. By 1910 nearly every trade and craft in the province was organ- 
ized at one or more points. A great tide of immigration set in towards 
Western Canada at the turn of the century and Alberta obtained its 
share of the inflow of immigrants. Thousands of tradesmen from the 
Old Country settled in the province and their presence was reflected in 
a forward movement of trade unionism. By the end of 1903 the workers 
of Calgary were organized as follows : Building trades, metal trades, 
wood workers, printers, clothing trades, transport workers, leather 
workers, general laborers. The Edmonton printers organized in 1903 
and the Edmonton Trades and Labor Council was formed January 16th 
of that year. Unions of the bricklayers, masons, lathers, painters and 


paper hangers followed a few months later. The carpenters of Red Deer 
joined the United Brotherhood of that craft in 1903. Next year, 1904, 
ten new locals were formed in the province, including the electrical 
workers, boiler makers, amalgamated carpenters and joiners at Calgary ; 
the carpenters at Wetaskiwin, Lacombe, Lethbridge, Strathcona and 
Medicine Hat. Locals of the plumbers, steam fitters, plasterers, laundry 
workers, sheet metal workers and barbers followed next year in Calgary. 

In 1906 the United Mine Workers of America invaded the Lethbridge 
field and established their organization there. The first local of the Fed- 
eral Union of Canada to be formed in Alberta was organized at Medicine 
Hat, June, 1907. In that year 15 new unions were formed in the province 
and in 1908, 16 new unions were added. Among the new trades repre- 
sented were the Flour and Cereal Workers of Calgary, Restaurant Em- 
ployees, retail clerks and musicians at Lethbridge. 

In the year 1909, nineteen new unions were formed and in 1910 
twenty-two more, including carmen, theatrical employees, bookbinders, 
tailors and bakers. These statistics represent the average annual growth 
of the Trade Union movement in Alberta until it reached its peak in 
1913. In this year there were reported 171 locals and 11,572 members. 

By 1906 the trade union movement began to make its influence felt 
in the steady improvement of working conditions on all works, the lessen- 
ing of hours of labor, and the securing of more humane and protective 
legislation. Until 1906 the working day in Alberta was generally nine 
and ten hours in the cities and longer in the small towns and villages. 
In this year there was a general and successful movement to reduce the 
working day to eight hours for carpenters, joiners, painters, bricklayers, 
masons, plumbers and steam fitters. This result was accomplished by 
an agreement with the employers and has remained the standard work- 
ing day in these trades ever since, and has been extended since that time 
to most of the principal trades of the province. 

The success of the trade union movement in Alberta has been due to 
a variety of causes. In the first place the majority of the workers im- 
migrating to the province were union men and were convinced that the 
status of the worker depended upon his union organization. Again, the 
movement began in Alberta at the commencement of a cycle of rising 
wages and costs of living all over the world. Local conditions in this 
respect were intensified by an unprecedented demand for all classes of 
labor and especially for agricultural, railway and urban development. 

A unique development in group organization in Alberta in recent 
years has been the Alberta Teachers' Alliance. This organization was 
formed in 1917. It was quickly copied by the teachers of other provinces 
and has gradually developed into the Canadian Teachers' Federation. 
The Alliance maintains a business agent to promote its organization and 
policy. It is supported by assessments graduated according to the salaries 
of its members. It aims to place the teachers in their proper social and 


economic position. It strives for a minimum salary of $1,200 in Alberta 
and for extensive rights and responsibilities in connection with the ad- 
ministration of schools. It has conducted strikes to enforce these de- 
mands. Its membership is now about 3,000 and comprises about 50 locals. 


Wages have been generally higher in Western Canada than in the 
provinces of Eastern Canada, generally higher in the cities of the prov- 
ince than in the towns and villages. From 1900 to 1913 the average rise 
in wages in Canada was 42.9% which may be taken as an approximate 
estimate of the increase in Western Canada and Alberta. The rise in 
agricultural labor, printing, clothing and building trades during the pe- 
riod referred to was above this average, being over 50%. The highest 
record reached, however, was in the case of domestic servants. The in- 
crease for this class of labor was over 71%. The upward trend of wages 
was most marked in the years 1903, 1906 and 1910 though it continued 
upward until the break of the land boom and the cessation of railway 
construction in 1913. The outbreak of the war in 1914 effected a decrease 
in the trade union membership of Alberta, as it did in other provinces in 
Canada. In the first year of the war, the number of locals dropped to 
149 and the membership to 7,618. At first there was a tendency to re- 
duce wages and reduce staffs. Printers, iron workers, the building 
trades, civic employees and school teachers were among the sufferers in 
this respect. In Medicine Hat the printers suffered a cut of 20%; and the 
iron workers of Calgary were reduced from 45 cents to 40 cents per hour. 
Civic employees in the latter city were cut from 5 to 25% in 1915 and in 
Edmonton civic officials and school teachers were reduced 10%. The 
greatest reduction recorded occurred in the case of domestic servants, 
whose wages were reduced from $25 to $30 per month to $15 and $10 per 

The paralysis of the industrial and economic life of the nation threw 
thousands out of work. Alberta felt the shock and unemployment during 
the first eighteen months of the war was very serious in the principal 
cities of the province, notwithstanding the great number of workers that 
joined the colors and the number of skilled mechanics that went to Eng- 
land to assist in war work. 

In 1916 these conditions were suddenly reversed. Labor was difficuit 
to obtain. Over 30,000 men had gone overseas from Alberta in the ranks 
of the army. The result was a uniformly upward trend of wages which 
condition steadily held until two years after the close of the war. The 
wages of agricultural laborers rose from $40 per month in 1914 to as high 
as $86 per month in 1918. The greatest increases, however, were in the 
coal mines, retail trades and railway services. The railway employees 
were on the eve of asking for increased wages in 1914 when the war broke 


out. The war intervened but the sharp rise in the cost of living following 
two years of war, precipitated the action contemplated in 1914. 

Wage disputes arose among the coal miners, although an agreement 
had been made in March, 1915, for a period of two years between the 
Western Coal Operators Association and District 18 of the United Mine 
Workers of America. The miners refused in July, 1916, to work any 
longer under the agreement, basing their action on the increase in the 
cost of living and demanded an increase of 10% on the rates in force. 
This dispute was settled in August and increases granted ranging from 
5% to 12^% with the understanding that the agreement was to continue 
until March 31st, 1917. In November, 1916, the miners demanded a fur- 
ther increase of 25 7f to take effect from the first of that month or in the 
alternative that a war bonus be paid commensurate with the increased 
cost of living. After a strike of a few days, the Minister of Labor or- 
dered an investigation into the cost of living by an officer of the depart- 
ment. The strike was settled by the Minister of Labor ordering the op- 
erators to pay a bonus of $1.75 per week as from November 1, 1916, to 
March 31, 1917, by which date it was expected a new agreement would 
be made. It should be noted that the Government agreed to advance the 
amounts necessary to pay the bonus, the Government endeavoring to re- 
cover from the consumers. The parties (that is, the Western Coal Op- 
erators Association and District 18 of the U. M. W. A.) failed to reach 
an agreement in March, 1917, and great unrest followed in the mining 
camps. The situation became so grave that in June the Government 
practically took over the operation of the mines in District 18 and ap- 
pointed a Director of coal operations, Mr. W. H. Armstrong of Van- 
couver, with power to make enquiries respecting wages, hours of labor, 
labor conditions and all other matters affecting the production of coal 
for the duration of the war and for three months after the declaration of 
peace. A working agreement was effected by the Director providing for 
an increase of 221/2% over the wages of the agreement which expired 
March 31, 1917, with an adjustment every four months in accordance 
with the cost of living determined by a Commission comprised of repre- 
sentatives of the Government, the operators and the mines. 

Pursuant to this agreement the Commission recommended and Direc- 
tor Armstrong ordered increases as follows : 

(a) From August 1, 1917, an increase of 20 cents per day. 

(b) From December 1, 1917, an increase of 14 cents a day. 

(c) From April 1, 1918, an increase of 20 cents per day. 

(d) From August 1, 1918, an increase of 15 cents per day. 

(e) From December 1, 1918, an increase of 13 cents per day. 
Other increases in 1917 concerned almost every trade. Carpenters 

were raised to 55 cents ; machinists from $25 to $27 per week of 50 hours ; 
motormen and conductors to 32 cents and 36 cents per hour according to 
length of service ; freight handlers to 33 and 35 cents according to the 


class of service; laborers from 30 to 35 and 40 cents per hour. New 
and increased schedules were agreed upon between the Canadian Pacific 
Railway Company and its maintenance of way employees by a Board of 
Conciliation. Engineers and Firemen on passenger trains were given 
an increase of 9% and a reduction of hours to an eight hour day. Engin- 
eers and firemen on freight trains were increased 5%. In Edmonton civic 
employees earning $100 or less per month were restored to the old scale 
that existed before the war. Bricklayers, plasterers and masons were 
paid 77 cents per hour. 

The steady rise in the cost of living compelled all classes of labor to 
appeal for higher wages in 1918, consequently the schedules and rates 
showed a sharp upward turn. In Alberta there were eighteen local wage 
disputes as well as several other disputes affecting workers belonging 
to organizations of wider range than the province, such as the railway 
brotherhoods. In Calgary painters were raised to 55 cents per hour; 
barbers to $19 per week plus 60% commission on all earnings over $30; 
carpenters to 70 cents per hour; Edmonton policemen were raised 10% 
in the case of married men, while single men were given a bonus of 5% ; 
teamsters and laborers were increased 10%. 

The most important wage changes, however, occurred in the railway 
schedules. The importance of the change lay not only in the measure 
of the increases awarded but in the manner in which they were enacted. 
The exigencies of the war taught the Government the necessity of state 
control if the industries and commerce of the country were to be kept 
from breaking down. The United States Government had taken over the 
railroads of that country for the period of the war. The Canadian North- 
ern Railway and the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, both of which had 
been heavily, too heavily, subsidized, by the Government of Canada, were 
bankrupt and passed into the hands of the Government. The Government 
of the United States enforced the so-called McAdoo Award and owing, 
it may be said, to the similarity of economic and working conditions in 
Canada and the United States and also to the international relations that 
exist between the Canadian and American railway unions, the McAdoo 
Award became the logical method of solving the wage disputes pending 
in Canada among the employees of the Canadian railroads. 

During the early months of 1918 almost every class of employees con- 
nected with the railways had asked for adjustments of wages and im- 
provement of working conditions. All these claims were finally settled 
by the Order of the Canadian Railway Board on July 16, 1918. By that 
order the terms of the McAdoo award affecting wages and hours of labor 
of railway employees in the United States was enacted in Canada. The 
order applied to all railway employees whether organized or not, male 
or female, earning on December 31, 1915, less than $3,000. In general 
terms the order meant that a flat increase of $25 per month was added 
to the rates prevailing on January 1, 1918, or increases reaching as high 


as 43% in the case of lower paid grades of labor over the rates paid this 
class of labor on December 31, 1915, The Railway Board further ordered 
after October 15, 1918, that eight hours should constitute a day's work. 

Contrary to popular anticipation the cost of living continued to rise 
after the declaration of peace, at a greater rate than during the war, as 
the following table prepared from the statistics of the Labor Gazette 
published by the Federal Department of Labor, shows : 









Staple foods 

_ 8.77 







Fuel and light. _ 

_ 1.74 








_ 7.98 







The years 1919-20 witnessed, therefore, numerous upward adjustments 
among the various trades in the province to counteract the consequences 
of the shrinking dollar. 

The rates for members of the typographical unions in the City of 
Edmonton, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge and Calgary were raised as follows : 

In Edmonton hand compositors and distributors were raised to 76 
cents per hour in 1919 and to 86 cents per hour in 1920. Night work 
was rated at 82.00 extra on the day rate. 

The typographical union of Medicine Hat secured an agreement to 
run a year from October 31, 1919, raising proofreaders, ad-men, and 
hand compositors to 78| cents per hour, machinist-operators to 84^ cents 
per hour; night rates from .$1.01 to SI. 08 per hour. In Calgary the rates 
for similar classes of workmen in the printing trades was raised to $37.00 
per week. 

Civic employees in Lethbridge were increased 14% in 1919 and in 
Medicine Hat and Calgary a new agreement was made with the city au- 
thorities and the various groups of employees granting subsequent in- 
creases. Many of the agreements passed provided for the operation of 
grievance committees on behalf of the workers. Plumbers' wages were 
raised to 85 cents per hour in 1919 and in the following year the rate was 
increased to $1.00 per hour. Bakers and confectionery employees were 
paid 839.25 for foremen, doughmen $37.25 and bakers $34.25 per week 
with provision for an adjustment depending on the cost of living after 
thirty days' notice. The coal miners of District 18 received an increase 
of 14% from April 1, 1920, to March 31, 1922, according to an agreement 
arrived at in June, 1920. All day wages in the mines were increased 
27% over the rates in force October 31, 1919. The agreement further 
advised that only members of the United Mine Workers of America should 
be employed in the mines of District 18 thus excluding the 0. B. U. min- 


ers. Under this agreement the average daily earnings of miners in 40 
mines were |9.37 per day. 

The highest wages recorded in any trade during the last twenty years 
in the Province of Alberta were paid to plasterers, masons, bricklayers, 
in 1920, the rate being $1.25 per hour for journeymen and $1.35 per hour 
for foremen. 

The end of 1920 witnessed the beginning of unemployment and the re- 
action from the feverish activity of the war. The percentage of un- 
employment among trade unionists in Alberta rose from .83 in October, 
1920, to 9.24 in December of the same year. The cost of living reached 
its peak in 1920 and a decline, small though it was, was reflected in a 
tendency to reduce wages. Some of the coal unions suffered a reduction 
of 16% in 1921 and in July of the same year the rates of the McAdoo 
Award were cut a minimum of 12%. 


Apart from the coal mining industry, industrial disputes have not 
been serious in Alberta since the advent of trade unionism. But workers 
have not neglected to use the strike as the final method of obtaining their 
demands. On the whole, however, the labor leaders of the province have 
been sane and reasonable in their demands upon the employers. The most 
serious disputes have occurred among the mines, particularly in the camps 
of Southern Alberta. There have been four important strikes among the 
Alberta miners since they became organized in 1903. The first was in 
1906. It was the first strike conducted by the United Mine Workers of 
America in the Province of Alberta. It was really a fight for the recog- 
nition of the union. The strike began in Lethbridge March 9, 1916, among 
the miners of the Alberta Railway and Irrigation Company and continued 
until December 3, of the same year. Over 500 miners were affected. 
The company attempted to use non-union men but without success. The 
approach of winter and the fear of a fuel famine on the prairies, partic- 
ularly in Saskatchewan, made the situation very .serious. Finally a Board 
of Conciliation was accepted by both parties and a settlement effected 
whereby the men received an increase of 10% in wages. The company 
did not concede the recognition of the union, but promised that members 
of the union should not be discriminated against. 

Strikes in the coal mines in normal times usually occur at the termi- 
nation of the agreements which are generally for two-year periods. These 
agreements generally terminate at the end of March. On April 1, 1907, 
the agreement between over 3,500 miners and the several companies com- 
prising the Western Coal Operators Association had expired. A confer- 
ence of the operators and miners was held in Calgary without result. 
Meanwhile the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act had become law. A 
Board of Conciliation was established, presided over by Chief Justice 


Mulock of Ontario. After many tedious negotiations an agreement was 
reached providing for an increase of wages and also for what was calcu- 
lated to be the most important from the standpoint of industrial peace, — 
viz., machinery for the settlement of local and general disputes by estab- 
lishing a permanent board composed of representatives of both parties. 

A strike of two months followed the termination of the 1907-09 agree- 
ment. The strike continued from April 28, to June 30, and affected 2,500 
men. A Scale Committee consisting of seven operators and seven miners 
of the United Mine Workers met at Macleod, March 2, 1909, and arranged 
the terms of an agreement satisfactory to both parties. 

The Crows Nest Pass Coal Company withdrew from the Western 
Coal Operators Association and executed a separate agreement with its 
employees, giving several new powers to the miners in its employment 
and an increase in wages. Meanwhile the Macleod agreement drawn up 
by the Scale Committee had been voted on and approved by the men 
employed by the companies of the Western Coal Operators Association 
by a vote of 773 to 573. But the day following the signing of the agree- 
ment of the Crows Nest Pass Coal Company the miners who were nego- 
tiating with the Western Coal Operators Association suspended work until 
a new agreement could be reached. The miners applied for a Board of 
Conciliation which was appointed May 15th. On June 30th an agree- 
ment was reached. The agreement signed by the parties was an elab- 
orate and careful statement of the rights and duties of both operators and 
miners. It may be taken as the first satisfactory definition of such rights 
and duties in this province. Provision was made for settling such dis- 
putes according to their gravity by the pit boss, pit committee, mine su- 
perintendent and general superintendent and officers of District 18 or 
finally by a joint committee composed of three operators and three miners. 
The miners agreed to continue work while any dispute was under inves- 
tigation by the proper authorities. 

Failure to renew this agreement or substitute a new and satisfactory 
agreement in March, 1911, led to the greatest strike in the history of the 
coal mining industry in Alberta, lasting as it did from May 1 to November 
20, and affecting 6,000 miners directly, and indirectly an indefinite num- 
ber. Recourse was had to a Board of Conciliation and Investigation com- 
posed of the Rev. C. W. Gordon, Winnipeg, chairman ; Mr. Colin Macleod 
of Macleod, Alberta, for the operators, and Mr. A. J. Carter for the min- 
ers. Early in July the chairman and representative of the operators sub- 
mitted a majority report, the representative of the miners a minority 
report. One of the important points of difference between the parties was 
the matter of a check-off. This is a plan by which the employees agree 
to collect the dues of the union. It is peculiar to the coal mining industry. 
It has always been a bone of contention at every conference of miners 
and their employers. The reason seems to be that it involves the prin- 
ciple of the open or closed shop, the development and vital existence of 


the union. The report of the board emphasized the necessity of a living 
wage and the standardization of wages in the various mines. The aver- 
age wage for miners for a number of mines through the district showed 
such variations as indicated in the figures |3.98, $4.62, $5.61 and |6.00 
per day. Even in the same mine the earnings varied from an average of 
|5.61 to a maximum of $10.13 per day. The minimum report com- 
plained there were too many men in the field for the market and advised 
a check on indiscriminate immigration. Continuance of the dispute re- 
sulted in an alarming reduction of the stores of coal throughout the West. 
The advance of winter and the state of public opinion forced both parties 
to consider the terrible possibilities of their continuing the strike. Late 
in October the conference was resumed in Lethbridge through the influ- 
ence of the Minister of the Interior, Hon. Robert Rogers, and an agree- 
ment reached on the basis of the majority report. The miners did not win 
in this dispute the concession of open shop principle but there was to be 
no discrimination by the companies against union men or by the miners 
against non-union men. The companies agreed to the check-off where 
authorized by individual miners. The miners resumed on November 20th, 
the new agreement continuing in force until the spring of 1915 when an 
entirely new condition arose in all the coal fields of the province. 

Strikes have occurred in the mines in the Edmonton district and the 
fields west of Edmonton but none of them have ever been so detrimental 
to public welfare as those above narrated. The same principles have gen- 
erally been at stake in every strike, viz., wages that could be regarded as 
a just reward for the hazardous nature of the work of the miner and the 
cost of living from time to time ; a recognition of the union and partner- 
ship in determining working conditions. As long as there was a surplus 
of miners in the field, operators had an advantage over the men, but in 
1916-17 when the mines were undermanned the miners were able to 
secure most of what they had contended for since the advent of the United 
Mine Workers into the province 17 years ago. 

In summing up this chapter, it may be said that the history of labor 
in Alberta has been marked by a great change in the attitude of employers 
and even governments towards workers. Though the claims of the or- 
ganized workers have often been thwarted and sometimes vexatiously de- 
layed, progress has been steady and permanent. The attitude of labor is 
understood by the public today and the right of organized and collective 
action is now an undisputed maxim of our social economy. 


The total enlistments in Alberta for the Canadian Expeditionary- 
Forces during the period of the Great war (1914-1918) were 45,136 
men, comprising twenty battalions of infantry, four mounted regiments, 
three batteries of artillery and a field ambulance unit. 

This number does not include many hundreds of reservists of the 
British, French, Belgian, Serbian and Italian armies who were residing 
in Alberta when the war broke out. Neither does it include a large num- 
ber of men and officers who enlisted with Canadian and Imperial units 
recruited in parts of Canada outside Alberta and in Great Britain. 

The infantry battalions raised in Alberta were the 9th, 31st, 49th, 
50th, 51st, 56th, 63rd, 66th, 82nd, 89th, 113th, 137th, 138th, 151st, 187th, 
191st, 192nd, 194th, 202nd and 218th. 

The mounted regiments were 3rd Canadian Mounted Rifles, 12th 
Canadian Mounted Rifles, 13th Canadian Mounted Rifles, and 19th Al- 
berta Dragoons. 

The batteries of artillery were the 20th, 39th and 61st of the Cana- 
dian Field Artillery. 

No. 2 Tunnelling Company and No. 8 Field Ambulance completed Al- 
berta's contribution in man-power to the strength of the Canadian Ex- 
peditionary Forces. 

Of the battalions of infantry only three maintained their identity in 
France. These were the 31st, 49th and 50th battalions. The men and 
officers of the other battalions from Alberta were sent from the training 
camps in England to reinforce the Alberta battalions and other Cana- 
dian battalions permitted to maintain their identity in France. It was 
the ambition of the officers and men of every battalion to be sent as an 
unbroken unit to France, but the heavy casualties and the length of the 
war rendered such a policy impossible to the higher command. 

The day war was declared by Germany against Great Britain every 
commanding oflScer in Alberta, as in the rest of Canada, offered his own 
services and those of his unit to the Canadian Government. 

The first unit raised in the Province was the 19th Alberta Dragoons, 
under Lt. Col. F. C. Jamieson, and Major W. A. Griesbach (later Brig.- 
General). Recruiting was authorized by the Department of Militia two 
days after war was declared. In a day or two the regiment was com- 
pleted and entrained for Valcartier, August 23rd. 



Three days after the declaration of war the 9th battalion was au- 
thorized. Over four-fifths of the 101st Edmonton Fusiliers volunteered 
and by August 22nd the battalion was up to 1,300 strength, and left 
immediately for the camp at Valcartier, under the command of Lt. 
Col. F. A. Osborne. 

Mention is specially made of these units because they were the first 
in the Province to respond to the Empire's call. Other battalions and 
regiments soon followed. After the Government of Canada decided to 
raise a second division, a third and a fourth division for service in France, 
fresh units were recruited and mobilized as quickly as the Militia De- 
partment could train, arm and equip them. Of the 45,000 men from 
Alberta over 43,000 were volunteers. It was not until the last few months 
of the war that the Government was compelled to invoke the Compulsory 
Military Service Law to keep up the strength of the Canadian Divisions 
at the front. 

It is not attempted to treat this chapter as a study of tactics and 
strategy respecting the services of the Alberta units in the various the- 
atres of the war, and the part they played beside their comrades 
from Canada in the Allied victories. It is intended to give only a list 
of the various units from Alberta, showing in a summary form the course 
of their careers, from recruiting to final disposition in England or France, 
and to follow the three Alberta battalions through the various battles in 
which they participated and helped to win. 

Units raised in Alberta for the Canadian Expeditionary Forces: 


(1). Nineteenth Alberta Dragoons: authorized August 6, 1914; re- 
cruited in Edmonton; sailed from Canada October 15, 1914; with seven 
officers and one hundred and seventy-three men; arrived in France Feb- 
ruary 12, 1915 ; served as 1st Divisional Cavalry until absorbed as "A" 
Squadron Canadian Corps Cavalry Regiment; finally changed to Ca- 
nadian Light Horse February 21, 1917. Perpetuated under former 19th 
Alberta Dragoons. 

(2). Third Regiment C. M. R. : authorized November 5, 1914; C. O. 
Lt. Col. L. J. Whitaker; recruited in Edmonton, Calgary and Medicine 
Hat; mobilized at Medicine Hat; sailed from Canada June 12, 1915, with 
twenty-nine officers and six hundred and twenty-seven other ranks; ar- 
rived in France September 21, 1915; served in France as Corps Troops 
until absorbed by 1st and 2nd Battalion C. M. R. January 1, 1916. Per- 
petuated as 1st Regiment, Alberta Mounted Rifles. 

(3). 12th Regiment C. M. R. : authorized December 1, 1914; re- 
cruited in Calgary and Red Deer; sailed from Canada October 9, 1915, 
with twenty-seven officers and five hundred and twenty-seven other ranks ; 
used as a reinforcing unit until absorbed into Canadian Cavalry Depot 





February 3, 1916. Perpetuated in active militia as 15th Canadian Light 

(4). 13th Regiment C. M. R. : authorized December 1, 1914; recruited 
at Pincher Creek, Cardston and Macleod ; sailed from Canada June 29, 
1916, with thirty-four officers and nine hundred and thirty-three other 
ranks; absorbed into various units. Perpetuated in active militia as 2nd 
Regiment Alberta mounted Rifles. 


(1). 9th Battalion: authorized August 7, 1914; recruited in Edmon- 
ton and mobilized at Valcartier; sailed for England October 3, 1914, 
with ten officers and 1,118 other ranks; reorganized as a reserve bat- 
talion April 4, 1915, and sent to reinforce the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th 
battalions in France. Perpetuated in active militia as 2nd Battalion, 
Edmonton Regiment. 

(2). 31st Battalion: authorized November 11, 1914; recruited 
throughout Alberta and mobilized at Calgary; left Canada May 17, 1915, 
with thirty-six officers and 1,033 other ranks; commanding officers, Lt. 
Col. A. H. Bell (later Brig. Gen. 6* Infantry Brigade C. M. C, D. S. O.), 
Lt. Col. E. S. Doughty, D. S. 0., Lt. Col. Nelson Spencer, D. S. 0.; ar- 
rived in France September 18, 1915. Perpetuated in the active militia 
as 1st and 2nd Battalions, Alberta Regiment. 

(3). 49th Battalion: authorized January 4, 1915; commanding of- 
ficers, Lt. Col. W. A. Griesbach (later Brig. Gen. 1st Infantry Brigade, 
C. B., C. M. G., D. S. 0.), Lt. Col. R. H, Palmer, D. S. O., Major C. Y, 
Weaver, D. S. 0.; sailed from Canada June 4, 1915, with thirty-six officers 
and 996 other ranks; arrived in France September 9, 1915. Perpetuated 
as 1st Battalion, Edmonton Regiment. 

(4). 50th Battalion: authorized December 15, 1914; recruited and 
mobilized at Calgary; left Canada October 27, 1915, with forty-one of- 
ficers and 1,036 other ranks; also sent drafts to England of five officers 
and 251 men June 14, 1915, of five officers and 250 men September 11, 
1915; arrived in France August 11, 1916; commanding officers, Lt. Col. 
E. G. Mason, 0. B. E., Lt. Col. C. B. Worshop, D. S. O., Lt. Col. U F. 
Page, D. S. 0. Perpetuated as 2nd Battalion, Calgary Regiment. 

(5). 51st Battalion: authorized January 4, 1915; recruited in Eng- 
land under Lt. Col. de Lotbiniere Harwood ; sailed from Canada with 
thirty-seven officers and 1,055 other ranks, April 18, 1916; also sent 
drafts to England of five officers and 253 men June 14, 1915, of five 
officers and 250 men September 11, 1915, and of one officer and 44 men 
December 18, 1915; used as a reinforcing unit until it became a Gar- 
rison Duty Battalion December 13, 1916. Perpetuated as 3rd Reserve 
Battalion, Edmonton Regiment. 

(6). 56th Battalion: authorized January 24, 1915; recruited in Cal- 


gary; sailed from Canada April 1, 1916, with forty officers and 1,073 
other ranks; also sent drafts of four officers and 250 men, July 5, 1915, 
and of five officers and 250 men, September 11, 1915; used as a rein- 
forcing unit until absorbed by 9th Reserve Battalion. Perpetuated as 
3rd Reserve Battalion, Calgary Regiment. 

(7). 63rd Battalion: authorized June 28, 1915, 0. C. Lt. Col. Geo. B. 
Macleod; recruited in Edmonton, Calgary and Medicine Hat; sailed from 
Canada April 23, 1916, with thirty-six officers and 1.075 other ranks; 
also sent drafts to England of five officers and 250 men, September 9, 
1915, of three officers and 100 other ranks January 22, 1916, of three 
officers and 100 other ranks March 2, 1916; used as a reinforcing unit 
until absorbed by the 9th Reserve Battalion July 7, 1916. Perpetuated 
as the 4th Reserve Battalion, Edmonton Regiment. 

(8). 66th Battalion: authorized June 21, 1915; recruited in Edmon- 
ton; sailed from Canada May 1, 1916, with thirty-six officers and 1,013 
other ranks; also sent drafts to England of five officers and 250 other 
ranks, September 11, 1915, of five officers and 222 other ranks January 
22, 1916; used as a reinforcing unit until absorbed by 9th Reserve Bat- 
talion July 7, 1916. Perpetuated in active militia as 5th Reserve Bat- 
talion, Edmonton Regiment. 

(9). 82nd Battalion: authorized September 1, 1915; recruited in 
Calgary; sailed from Canada May 20, 1916, with thirty-four officers and 
1,006 other ranks; absorbed by 9th Reserve Battalion in England July 
18, 1916. Perpetuated in active militia as 4th Reserve Battalion, Cal- 
gary Regiment. 

(10). 89th Battalion: authorized November 1, 1915; recruited in 
Calgary; sailed from Canada June 6, 1916, with thirty-three officers and 
969 other ranks ; used as a reinforcing unit until absorbed in 9th Reserve 
Battalion and by 97th Battalion ; not perpetuated in active malitia. 

(11). 113th Battalion: authorized November 17, 1915; recruited in 
Lethbridge; sailed from Canada with thirty officers and 883 other ranks; 
absorbed by the 17th Reserve Battalion, October 18, 1916. Perpetuated 
as 3rd Reserve Battalion, Alberta Regiment. 

(12). 137th Battalion: authorized November 11, 1915; recruited in 
Calgary; sailed from Canada August 24, 1916, with thirty-two officers 
and 932 other ranks; used as a reinforcing unit until absorbed by 21st 
Reserve Battalion. Perpetuated as 5th Reserve Battalion, Calgary Regi- 

(13). 138th Battalion- authorized November 22, 1915; recruited in 
Edmonton; sailed from Canada August 24, 1916, with thirty-two officers 
and 870 other ranks; used as a reinforcing unit until absorbed by 128th 
Battalion, December 12, 1916; not perpetuated. 

(14), 151st Battalion: authorized November 26, 1915, under Lt. Col. 
A. W. Arnett; recruited in federal ridings of Battle River, Victoria, 
Strathcona and Red Deer; sailed from Canada April 10, 1916, with 


twenty-nine officers and 925 other ranks ; absorbed by 7th and 9th Re- 
serve Battalions October 13, 1916. Perpetuated as 4th Reserve Bat- 
tahon, Alberta Regiment. 

(15). 187th Battalion: authorized January 20, 1916; recruited in 
Red Deer district; sailed from Canada December 20, 1916, with twenty- 
four officers and 774 other ranks ; absorbed by the 9th Reserve Battalion, 
February 20, 1917. Perpetuated as 6th Reserve Battalion, Alberta Regi- 

(16). 191st Battalion: authorized January 21, 1916; recruited in 
Macleod and district; sent drafts to England of six officers and 246 other 
ranks, of two officers and 60 other ranks ; re-organized in Canada as a 
draft giving depot battalion ; not perpetuated. 

(17). 192nd Battalion: authorized January 25, 1916; recruited in 
Blairmore and district; sailed from Canada November 3, 1916, with 
twenty-three officers and 424 other ranks; absorbed by the 9th Reserve 
Battalion, November 11, 1916; not perpetuated. 

(18). 194th Battalion: authorized January 28, 1916; recruited in 
Edmonton and district; sailed from Canada November 14, 1916, with 
thirty-one officers and 912 other ranks; used as a reinforcing unit until 
absorbed by 9th Reserve Battalion May 28, 1917 ; not perpetuated. 

(19). 202nd Battalion: authorized February 4, 1916, under Lt. Col. 
P. E. Bowen ; known as the Sportsmen's Battalion ; recruited in Edmon- 
ton and district; sailed from Canada November 24, 1916, with twenty- 
seven officers and 746 other ranks ; used as a reinforcing unit until ab- 
sorbed by 9th Reserve Battalion, May 28, 1917; not perpetuated. 

(20). 218th Battalion: authorized February 23, 1916; recruited in 
Edmonton under Lt. Col. James K. Cornwall, D. S. 0., sailed from Can- 
ada February 17, 1917, with twenty-four officers and 582 other ranks; 
amalgamated with 211th Battalion and organized as the 8th Battalion, 
Canadian Railway Troops ; not perpetuated. 

Having enumerated the principal units raised in Alberta and their 
disposition in England as reinforcements, let us turn our attention to 
the three battalions that we may say represented Alberta in the fighting 
lines in France. Hereafter follows the particulars of the part the 31st, 
49 and 50th battalions took in the various battles in which they partici- 
pated throughout their periods of service. 



The 31st Battalion arrived in France September 18, 1915. After six 
months' duty in the Kemmel Defence the battalion moved to St. Eloi, 
where fighting was in progress. This battle lasted from March 27th to 
April 16th. The 31st moved into the battle line on the night of April 
3-4, with a strength of twenty-four officers and 703 other ranks, occupying 


a front of 1,500 yards. On the 6th the trenches and dugouts were demol- 
ished by the German bombardment, but all attempts to capture the posi- 
tion were repulsed. After two more days of strenuous fighting the bat- 
talion was relieved at 11 P. M. on the 8th. During the battle the bat- 
talion's casualties were 29 killed, 147 wounded and four missing — total 

Battle of Mount Sorrel, June 2nd-13th, 1916 — On the night of June 
5, 1916, the battalion moved from Divisional Reserve at Reninghelst and 
relieved the 42nd, 52nd and 60th battalions of the 3rd Canadian Divi- 
sion in the Hooge sector at Zouve Wood. Heavy bombardment from the 
Germans continued all day of the 6th, but the battalion stoutly main- 
tained its position and stopped the advance of the enemy following the 
blowing of a terrific mine in the 28th battalion trench at Hooge. The 
battalion held its position until the night of June 8-9, when it moved out 
to Ypres. During these days in the trenches it lost 33 in killed, 128 in 
wounded and 3 missing. 

On the night of June 11th the battalion returned to the same trenches 
relieving the 27th Battalion. On the 13th the 1st Canadian Division re- 
captured Observatory Ridge and Mount Sorrel, the 31st Battalion pro- 
tecting the left flank of the attack. After being subjected to heavy shell- 
ing in the captured positions, the battalion moved out again to Ypres, 
on the night of the 14th, being relieved by the 27th battalion. During 
this part of the fighting the casualties were 67 wounded. 

Flers-Courcelette, September 15-22, 1916 — At 6:20 A. M. September 
15th, the 2nd Canadian Division successfully attacked Candy and Sugar 
Trenches south of Courcelette. The 31st Battalion operated against 
Sugar Trench and gained their objective before 7 A. M. Here they con- 
solidated their new position under heavy shell fire and maintained it 
until 6 P. M., when they led units of the 5th and 7th Infantry Brigades 
to the main attack on Courcelette. In the afternoon of the 16th, the bat- 
talion was withdrawn to Divisional Reserve at the "Brickfields." In this 
battle the battalion lost 63 killed, 131 wounded and 53 missing — total 247. 

Thiepval, September 26-28, 1916 — On September 26th the 2nd Cana- 
dian Division participated with the 1st Canadian Division on its left in 
an operation against the German position on Thiepval Ridge. At noon 
the 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade made an assault with the 31st Bat- 
talion on the left of the brigade. Due to wire entanglements, the 31st 
was held up. A second attack was made by the 31st at 11 P. M., which 
was only partially successful, but on the 27th the battalion gained its 
objective and held in throughout the 28th and until it was relieved in 
the early hours of the following morning. Casualties : killed 60, wounded 
209, missing 113— total 382. 

At the battle of Ancre Heights (October Ist-November 11th), the 
31st Battalion was present but did not engage in the actual fighting, but 


a party of three officers and 170 other ranks assisted in carrying rations 
and water to the front line on the 2nd of October, 

Vimy Ridge, April 9-lJf, 1917 — On April 9, 1917, all four divisions of 
the Canadian Corps attacked the German positions on Vimy Ridge. The 
6th Infantry Brigade was in Divisional Reserve at Zero. As the attack 
proceeded the 6th Brigade passed through the 4th Infantry Brigade on 
the "Red Line" and captured the third and fourth objectives. At 9:35 
A. M. it advanced again, gaining its next objective at 11:30 A. M., when 
it allowed the 27th Battalion to pass through on its way to win the next 
line. On the 10th it remained in brigade support and withdrew the fol- 
lowing day to Divisional Support at Zivy Cave. Casualties : killed 15, 
wounded 70, missing 5 — total 90. 

Fresnoij, May 3-U, 1917— At 3:45 A. M., May 3rd, the village of Fres- 
noy was attacked by the 1st and 2nd Canadian Division, each employing 
one brigade. The 6th Infantry Brigade attacked with the 27th and 31st 
battalions. Owing to darkness and uncut wire the objective was not 
reached. A new trench was made in front of the enemy wire which the 
Germans shelled all through the day. The next day the battalion re- 
tired to brigade support. Casualties : killed 45, wounded 140, missing 
56— total 241. 

At Hill 70 (August 15-25, 1917), the 31st BattaHon "stood to" in 
divisional support until the 19th, when the 6th Brigade took over the 
front, with the 31st in Brigade Reserve, furnishing carrying parties and 
evacuating the wounded. 

Passchendaele, October 27-November 10, 1917 — The 31st Battalion 
was engaged in this terrible battle from the 4th to the 8th of November. 
At 6 A, M., November 6th, the 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions attacked 
Passchendaele Ridge. Meanwhile, the 31st moved into the forward area 
via Ypres, Potijze and Abraham Heights. About midnight November 
5th, they took up a position on the outskirts of Passchendaele. At 6 A. 
M., on the 6th the brigade to which they were attached attacked and cap- 
tured the town. During the fighting the 31st suffered heavy casualties. 
The brigade, however, constructed a line of defence and outposts during 
the day. The following day saw the work of consolidation and evacuation 
of the wounded completed. That night at 11 P. M. (November 7), the 
battalion was relieved and moved to Corps Reserve at Brandhoek. Dur- 
ing the period in the line it captured 90 prisoners and 4 machine guns. 
Casualties, killed 59, wounded 233, missing 13 — total 305. 

When the Germans launched their great offensive in March, 1918, 
in the direction of Amiens the 2nd Canadian Division was in Army Re- 
serve and ready to attack if the enemy broke through. The 31st Bat- 
talion was at Pommier "standing to" ready to move at a moment's no- 

Amiens, August 8-11, 1918 — General Ludendorff has said that the 8th 
day of August, 1918, was the darkest and most terrible day in the his- 


tory of the German people. It was on that day that the great British 
counter offensive to the attack of the Germans of the previous March 
was launched, and that the Canadians broke the German line at Amiens. 

The 31st Battalion went through the entire battle. The Canadian 
Corps attacked between Villars Bretonneux and Hourges, 3rd Division 
on the right, 1st Division in the centre, and the 2nd Division on the left. 

At 5:40 A. M. the 31st Battalion moved from the assembly area to 
Marcel Cave. The 5th Infantry Brigade continued the advance with the 
6th Infantry Brigade in support to Gillan Court. Then the latter brigade 
assumed the attack with the 31st on right front, reaching the desired 
objective near Caix. 

At 11 A. M. on the 9th the advance was resumed, but was temporarily 
checked by enemy machine gun fire. The 31st cleared Rosieres by 4 :30 
P. M. and gained its position east of the village, where the 28th Battalion 
passed through and continued the attack. At night the 31st relieved the 
28th in the outpost line at Meharicourt-Lihons Road. On the 10th, the 
4th Canadian Division passed through and the 31st withdrew to Rosieres 
in brigade support, and on the following day moved back to Caix into 
Divisional Reserve. Casualties: killed 29, wounded 215, missing 8 — 
total 252. 

During the continuation of the offensive, operations were carried out 
by the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Divisions along the Scarpe River. On Au- 
gust 26th the 6th Infantry Brigade made three successive attacks, but 
during these attacks the 31st Battalion was in Brigade Reserve. During 
this and the following day, the battalion was ready to be used in the event 
of a counter attack. During the 27th, the 4th and 5th Brigades contin- 
ued the advance to the Sensee River, with the 6th Infantry Brigade in 
close support. Next day the advance was resumed in the same forma- 
tion, the 31st in Divisional support until it was relieved late that night 
by the 7th Battalion and moved back to the Neuville-Vitasse area. Casual- 
ties for the five days : killed 7, wounded 66, missing 2 — total 75. 

September opened with smashing of the Drocourt-Queant section of 
the Hindenburg line by the British and Canadian troops. On September 
3rd the 1st and 4th Canadian Divisions advanced. The 31st Battalion 
moved up to Cherisy and relieved the 7th Battalion in the front line. On 
September 4th, the Canadians were established on the west bank of the 
Canal du Nord and several days were needed to devise plans for its cap- 
ture. During the battle, September 27-October 1, for the Canal, the 31st 
were in the battle area in Corps Reserve, while the attack was being 
pushed forward by the 1st, 3rd and 4th Divisions. 

Cambrai, October 8-9, 1918 — The battle of Cambrai was the last great 
battle of the war, and it has been called the greatest battle waged by the 
Canadian Corps. There was still a month of hard work chasing the Hun 
with a few major operations to maintain interest and relieve the mo- 
notony of the chase. 


In conjunction with the general offensive operations October 9th, the 
2nd Canadian Division attacked from north of Cambrai at 1 :30 A. M. 
Under cover of darkness the positions at Morenchies and Ramillies across 
the Canal de I'Escaut to Escaudoevres. The 31st Battalion from a posi- 
tion west of Ramillies attacked northeast through Cuvillers and by 
10 P. M, was lying on the western outskirts of Thun Leveque. In prep- 
aration for the pursuit to Mons the battalion sent forward strong patrols 
to clear the assembly positions of the enemy. At 4:30 A. M. on the 10th 
of October, the battalion jumped off and by 6 A. M, had captured Thun 
Leveque and secured possession of the Canal and bridgeheads, establish- 
ing itself during the day. Next day the battalion, under orders to ad- 
vance beyond Hordian, started forward at 9 A. M., but was held up by 
heavy barrage of the enemy. Finally the battalion reached Iwuy at 1 
P. M., one thousand yards short of the objective, which position it held 
until relieved the following day by Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders, 
and marched back to Eswars. Casualties : killed 14, wounded 130, miss- 
ing 6— total 150. 

The final action of the battalion was on the day of the Armistice (No- 
vember 11). That morning it marched to the jumping off position west 
of St. Symphorien and commenced to attack, advancing as far as Petit 
Havre. When at 11 A. M. "cease fire" came, the battalion moved into 
billets at Havre. 

Honors and Awards— C. M. G. 1 ; D. S. 0. 6; 0. B. E. 3; M. C. 46; 
D. C. M. 28; M. M. 223. 

49th battalion, c. e. f., 7th Canadian infantry brigade, 3rd Canadian 


Battle of Mount Son-el, June 2-13, 1916 — The 49th Battalion arrived 
in France October 10, 1915, but did not participate in any engagement 
until the battle of Mount Sorrel, June, 1916. On June 2nd, the battalion 
was in Brigade Reserve behind Ypres, when the enemy attacked at noon 
and captured the front trenches held by the 3rd Canadian Division in 
the Hooge sector. The 49th, with the 52nd, and 60th battalions, were 
ordered to counter attack under Colonel W. A. Griesbach, the ofhcer com- 
manding the 49th battalion. On the 3rd of June, the 49th moved up under 
heavy shelling to a point of assembly at Sanctuary Wood, and were in 
position at 2:10 A. M. The 52nd and the 60th battalions did not arrive at 
the assembly point and the 49th attacked alone at 7 A. M,, retaking the 
reserve trenches lost on the previous day, holding the line until relieved 
on the night of June 4-5, when they withdrew to Ypres. Casualties : 
killed 52, wounded 265, missing 69 — total 386. 

Flers-Courcelette, September 15-22, 1916 — At 6 P. M., September 15th, 
the 2nd Canadian Division had captured Courcelette. The 3rd Division 
held the front from Courcelette to Mouquet Farm. The 7th Infantry 


Brigade attacked west of Courcelette with the Princess Patricia's Light 
Infantry and the 42nd Battalion. The 49th Battalion joined the attack 
at Fabeck Graben Trench which was entered and consolidated. While 
still in the front line on the 16th an unsuccessful attempt was made to 
occupy Zollern Graben. That night two companies were relieved, and 
on the following morning the remaining two companies were relieved, the 
whole battalion moving out to Divisional Reserve at Tara Hill and Albert. 
Casualties: killed 43, wounded 191, missing 19 — total 253. 

In this engagement Pte. John Chipman Kerr was awarded the Victoria 
Cross for his action on September 16th, when he led a bombing party 
against a German garrison, clearing the trench with grenades and rifles, 
capturing 62 prisoners and 250 yards of enemy trench. 

Ancre Heights, October l-Novembe?' 11, 1916 — The 49th Battalion took 
part in this battle on two occasions. On October 2nd, the 49th moved 
into the front trenches and relieved some companies of the 8th Canadian 
Infantry Brigade, suffering heavy shelling until relieved October 3rd by 
the 11th Cheshires, and moved to billets in the Albert area. On the 7th 
the battalion returned to the front line and took over the Zollern Graben 
Trench from the 42nd Battalion. The next morning at 4 :57 A. M. the 
battalion attacked Regina Trench, but heavy fire and wire entanglements 
held up the assault. Some of the men of "D" and "C" companies reached 
the Regina Trench, but were never seen or heard of again. The remainder 
of the battalion held on stubbornly in Kenora Trench and in shell holes 
until night, when they were relieved by the 42nd. Casualties in both en- 
gagements: killed 54, wounded 157, missing 63 — total 274. 

Vimy Ridge, April 9-14, 1917 — The battle of Vimy Ridge was a suc- 
cessful struggle of the Canadian Divisions for one of the most important 
strategic positions on the whole Western Front. The French had lost 
and the British had failed to take it. For the first time the four Cana- 
dian Divisions attacked side by side. They moved forward in order of 
number from the right. Zero hour was 5:30 A. M., April 9fh. The 7th 
Infantry Brigade attacked with three battalions, the 49th going for- 
ward in close support and mopping u»d the brigade area, and also assist- 
ing in carrying ammunition, evacuating the wounded and reinforcing 
the front line in the final objective. During the 10th the battalion re- 
mained in support, furnishing carrying parties to the front line, bringing 
in the wounded and sending out patrols to get in touch with the enemy. 
On the 11th, they took over a part of the front held by the 42nd Battalion 
and the Princess Patricia's Light Infantry and on the night of the 12th- 
13th, they were relieved in turn by the 43rd Battalion, and went into 
brigade reserve. Two days later the battalion joined the 7th Infantry 
Brigade in Divisional Reserve. Casualties: killed 17, wounded 84, miss- 
ing 11— total 112. 

The battalion had a rest from fighting until August. From the 21st 
to the 25th of that month, it was in the battle area at Hill 70. During 




that period it was in reserve at Allouag-ne, while the 1st and 2nd Canadian 
Divisions were attacking Hill 70 northwest of Lens, and moved into for- 
ward area, taking over the support line behind the Royal Canadian Regi- 
ment, and was relieved by the 42nd on the 27th. Casualties: killed 8, 
wounded 25 — total 33. 

Passchendaele, October 26-Novemher 10, 1917 — In October, 1917, the 
Canadian Corps was transferred to the Ypres salient for the attack on 
Passchendaele Ridge. The 7th Brigade reached its destination October 
23rd. On the night of the 28th, the 49th Battalion relieved the 116th 
Battalion in the front line. On the 30th the Canadian Corps attacked 
with brigades from right to left — 12th, 7th, 8th. The 7th had the Prin- 
cess Patricia's Light Infantry on the right, and the 49th on the left. The 
49th operating at Bellevue jumped off under heavy fire from rifles and 
machine guns, sustaining heavy casualties and only partially winning 
its objective. A new line was constructed and held against all counter- 
attacks of the Germans until the 42nd Battalion took their places on the 
night of the 31st. On November 1st the battalion was withdrawn behind 
Ypres and the following day moved to Watou. Casualties: killed 126, 
wounded 288, missing 29 — total 443. 

In this battle Pte. Cecil John Kinross was awarded the Victoria Cross 
for attacking a machine gun located in Furst Farm, which was holding up 
the advance. He rushed the position against point blank fire, alone and 
in broad daylight, killing the crew of six men and destroying the gun. 

Amiens, August 8-11, 1918 — From December, 1917, to August, 1918, 
the Canadian Corps was kept out of battle and resolutely trained for the 
last great offensive of the war. On August 8th the Canadians went into 
action, the four divisions attacking the Amiens-Roye Road and Villers 
Bretonneux. The divisions in line were the 3rd, 1st and 2nd. The 3rd 
Canadian Division attacked with the 8th and 9th brigades, the 8th on the 
north bank of the Luce River, while the 9th captured Dodo Wood and 
established a line continuous with that of the 8th in the inner defences 
of Amiens. The 7th Brigade then passed through the 9th to the second 
objective, the 49th in the lead, when the brigade jumped off at 8:20 A. 
M., and though the battalion met with stiff resistance in the woods near 
the Luce River it gained its objective at 11 A. M. At 12:10 P. M. the 
5th Division passed through and the 7th Brigade bivouacked at its final 
objective and watched the cavalry and tanks take up the pursuit of the 
enemy. On the 9th the battalion moved forward and by night reached 
a position in divisional reserve east of Le Quesnel. On the 11th it moved 
up behind the 42nd, which was in the front line west of Parvillers. 
Casualties: killed 10, wounded 51 — total 61. 

For the next two days fighting continued intermittently, the 49th and 
the 42nd clearing the Germans out of their whole defensive system. On 
the 15th the 49th captured Blucher Wood, and the next day moved back to 
Le Quesnel, retiring to Corps Reserve on the 16th. During these opera- 


tions, known as the battle of Damery, the battalion captured 215 prison- 
ers, 51 machine guns, 12 guns, 2 trench mortars. 

Battle of the Scarpe, August 26-30, 1918 — The success at Amiens 
opened the way for the advance on the Hindenburg line, with Cambrai 
as the strategic objective. In the interim between the battles of Damery 
and of the Scarpe, the Canadian Corps moved north to the Arras Front. 
On the 26th of August the 2nd and 3rd Divisions attacked east of Arras. 
The 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade was given an important part to play 
in the coming operation. The attack was launched at 3 A. M., by the 
8th Brigade, which reached its objective by 7:40 A. M., capturing Orange 
Hill and Monchy Le Preux. Early in the morning, the 7th Brigade was 
ordered to pass through the 8th Brigade. Its attacking line consisted of 
two battalions and a half battalion on the left to protect its left flank on 
the bank of the Scarpe River. This duty was imposed on the 49th Bat- 
talion, two companies of which formed a screen on the left to the Princess 
Patricia's Light Infantry. The other half of the battalion was in reserve 
to the Princess Patricia's, which was meeting heavy opposition from the 
direction of Pelves. "B" and "C" companies were sent to assist the Pa- 
tricia's and also encountered heavy machine gun and shell fire all after- 
noon. "D" company supplied carrying and stretcher parties for the P. 
P. C. L. I. (Princess Patricias' Canadian Light Infantry), which was tena- 
ciously holding a dangerous position against German counter attacks. 
Next day (August 27th) the attack was carried on by the 9th Brigade 
and by 7:15 A. M. Bois du Surt was won, where the advance was stopped, 
but a company of the 49th Battalion linked up the divisional line by break- 
ing through the position of the P. P. C. L. I. Another company moved 
to the support of the 58th Battalion. During the night these companies 
rejoined the battalion for the attack planned on Pelves and Jigsaw Val- 
ley the next day. At 2 A. M. (August 28th), the 49th Battalion moved 
forward and took the trenches south of Pelves, and by 5 A. M. had occu- 
pied Pelves itself. By 10 :30 A. M. it had occupied and consolidated a 
position about Haversack Lane. During that forenoon the battalion gave 
effective protection to the left flank of the P. P. C. L. I. in the assault 
upon, and capture of Jigsaw Wood, and assisting in holding the position 
against the enemy's bombardment and counter attacks. On the 29th the 
battalion moved into billets in Arras, arriving there at 6:20 A. M. Casual- 
ties: 13 killed, 65 wounded — total 78. Captures: 84 prisoners, 15 ma- 
chine guns, 4 trench mortars, 3 anti-tank rifles. 

Canal du Nord (September 27 -October 1, 1918). — On the opening day 
of the battle, the Canadian Corps attacked with the object of crossing the 
Canal du Nord and seizing Bourlon Wood. The 1st and 4th Canadian 
Divisions launched the attack at 5:30 a. m. (September 27th), and quickly 
reached the objective at Bourlon Wood. Meanwhile the 3rd Division came 
up ready to throw its weight into the attack. But owing to the narrow 
front the brigades followed at greater distances than usual. At 3 :30 p. m. 


on the 27th, the division was in position. The 7th brigade lay behind with 
instructions to leap-frog over the 4th Division at dawn on the 28th and 
force the Marcoing line from Sailly to the South in the angle of the Arras- 
Cambrai and Bapaume-Cambrai Roads and turn northeast and capture 
Tilloy, Tilloy Hill and the Valley of Ramillies. The attack was to be led 
by the Royal Canadian Regiment with the P. P. C. L. I. and the 49th in 
support, and when the Marcoing line was taken, the two battalions were 
to leap-frog through the Royal Canadian Regiment and go forward to the 
final objective at Ramillies. But the advance was held up at Marcoing and 
a second attack was launched by the 49th with the assistance of heavy 
barrage, getting through to St. Olle, suffering heavily from the machine 
guns of the enemy. On the 29th the attack was resumed by the 49th and 
42nd battalions, finding progress difficult and casualties heavy, but finally 
reaching the Cambrai-Donai Road before Tilloy at noon. The next day 
the battalion, along with the R. C. R. (Royal Canadian Regiment) and 
P. P. C. L. I. pushed through and occupied Tilloy. The next day at 5 a. m. 
the 9th brigade passed through to the attack and the battalions of the 7th 
brigade, of which the 49th was one, returned to Bourlon Wood. Casualties : 
51 killed, 260 wounded, 8 missing — total 319. Captures : 50 machine guns, 
10 trench mortars, 2 field guns, 2 anti-tank guns and a large quantity of 

This was the last battle in which the 49th were engaged in actual fight- 
ing. They were present at the Grand Honnelle, November 5th-7th. On 
the 7th of November the 7th brigade took over the line, the 49th in sup- 
port of the P. P. C. L. I. When peace came, the 49th was billeted in Mons 
and took part in the march of the Canadians into Germany. 

Honours and awards: V. C. 2; C. B. 1 (Brig.-General W. A. Gries- 
bach) ; C. M. G. 1 (Brig.-General W. A. Griesbach) ; D. S. 7 ; 0. B. E. 3 ; 
M. C. 35 ; D. C. M. 27 ; M. M. 184 ; mention in despatches 44 ; French Croix 
de Guerre, 4 ; Belgian Croix de Guerre, 3. 

50th battalion, c. e. f., 10th Canadian infantry brigade, 4th Canadian 


The 50th battalion arrived in France August 11, 1916. The battalion's 
first experience was at Ancre Heights, though it took only a minor part. 
Its first taste of actual fighting was in the line North of Courcelette on 
October 14th, where it relieved the 44th, holding the line until the night of 
the 17th. Fighting was not severe, the casualties being 1 killed and 43 
wounded. On the 20th the battalion returned to the line and the next day 
sent "A" Company to assist the 87th battalion in holding Regina Trench. 
It continued relieving various battalions in the front line until November 
9th. During the period it was in the battle area its casualties were 
killed 9, wounded 89. 


Battle of the Ancre (November 13-18). — On November 14th the bat- 
talion moved from brigade reserve East of Albert in the front line and 
remained there until the 16th, returning to the trenches on the 18th. At 
6 :10 a. m. that day "A" and "B" companies jumped-off and attacked enemy 
trenches 300 yards in advance of Regina Trench. After inflicting heavy 
losses and taking one hundred prisoners, the two companies were forced 
to return to Regina Trench. Casualties 215. 

Vimy Ridge (April 9-11)., 1917). — At Vimy Ridge during the attack on 
the opening, the 50th battalion was in reserve. On the 10th at 3:15 a. m. 
the battalion went into action and captured Hill 145, with 125 prisoners 
and two machine guns, but suffered heavy casualties. On the 12th, it was 
again in action for an attack on the Pimple. Zero hour was 5 a. m. A 
blinding snow storm was raging, but the men pressed forward bombing 
and bayonetting the Germans out of their trenches, winning all objectives 
by 5:45 a. m. and suffering few casualties. The next day (April 13th), 
the battalion moved forward at 5:30 a. m. and reached a distance of 1,100 
yards, establishing a new line north of Givenchy, which was handed over 
to the 1st battalion at 8:30 p. m. the same day. Casualties: 66 killed, 143 
wounded, 62 missing — total 271. 

The Victoria Cross was awarded to Pte. J. G. Pattison for his action 
on April 10th, when the attack was held up by a machine gun nest. Pte. 
Pattison advanced alone, and against point black fire bombed the nest, 
putting the guns out of action. He then bayonetted the German crews. 
The advance then continued and all objectives were gained. Pte. Pattison 
was killed June 2nd following. 

The Souchez River Affair (June 3-25, 1917). — At midnight on the 2nd- 
3rd of June, the 10th brigade attacked the German positions from La Cou- 
lette to the Souchez River. The 50th battalion on the left, operated against 
an electric generating station, taking the station after desperate fighting. 
On account of the difficulty of digging trenches in the hard chalk and the 
severe shelling of the enemy, the battalion withdrew to its old line. Heavy 
losses were inflicted on the enemy and 54 prisoners brought in. On the 
4th the battalion was relieved and moved out to divisional reserve at 
Chateau de la Haie. It continued in the battle area until the ena of the 
affair in divisional support and in the front line. From the 20th to the 
25th the battalion held the front line advancing the same to conform with 
advances made by other units. Casualties for the period : 64 killed, 244 
wounded, 32 missing — ^total 340. 

Hill 70 (August 15-25, 1917).— The 50th battalion moved into the for- 
ward area on the 19th on the outskirts of Lens. On the 21st, while assem- 
bling for attack, the battalion was heavily shelled, suffering over 100 
casualties. At 4 :30 a. m. the attack was made, but without success, a few 
men reaching the objective and after holding on for several hours were 
compelled to retire. At 6 p. m. an attack was made by bombing on Aloof 
Trench, and the next three days were spent in improving the position 


gained, which was handed over to the 87th. Casualties : killed 57, wounded 
280, missing- 33— total 370. 

Second Passchendaele (Octohey^ 26-Nov ember 10, 1917). — The battle 
opened with an attack by the 3rd and 4th Canadian Divisions southwest of 
Passchendaele, the 10th brigade crossing the divisional front with the 
46th battalion. At 5 :40 a. m. the 46th attacked with the 50th in support, 
"D" Company moving forward with the attacking troops. All objectives 
were reached and "C" and "D" Companies of the 50th under the officer 
commanding the 46th assisted in holding the position. In the afternoon 
strong enemy counter-attacks forced the 50th and 46th back to the jump- 
ing-off line. That night the battalion moved out to brigade reserve. The 
next night (October 27th) the battalion "stood to" ready to assist the 44th 
and 47th, remaining so until relieved by the 72nd battalion on the night 
of the 28th, when it moved to Divisional Reserve at Brandhoek. Casual- 
ties: 27 killed, 78 wounded — total 105. 

Amiens (August 8-11, 1918). — As pointed out in dealing with the 49th 
battalion, the 3rd, 1st and 2nd Divisions attacked the enemy line south of 
Villers-Bretonneux. The 4th division was in Corps reserve. At 12 :40 
p. m. this division passed through the 3rd division on the intermediate 
objective and carried the attack to the final objective. During this opera- 
tion, the 50th battalion was in divisional reserve, and following the ad- 
vance passed Bois de Gentilles and crossed the Luce River at noon, and 
reached Peronne Wood at night. At 2 p. m. the 1st and 3rd divisions 
passed through and occupied Bouchoir, Folies, Beaufort and Rouvry. At 
8 p, m. the 50th relieved the 85th in the line. The next day at 10:15 a. m. 
the 10th and 12th Canadian infantry brigades attacked in the direction 
of Hattencourt, and Hallu, the 50th battalion in support of the 46th, which 
captured Mancourt and reached its objective. Here the 50th was to leap- 
frog through the 46th. The advance was held up at Fouquescourt. At 
7 :20 p. m. the 50th assaulted and fighting their way forward, took pris- 
oners and machine guns and reached Hallu. A strong enemy counter- 
attack developed next forenoon. It was successfully checked, but the line 
was withdrawn to a position one thousand yards from the railway in front 
of Hallu. That night the 50th retired from the line, giving place to the 
46th battalion. Casualties : 39 killed, 184 wounded, 22 missing — total 245. 

On the 28th of August, the 50th moved from Amiens to the area east of 
Arras, resting and training for the battle of Drocourt-Queant Line. 

Drocowt-Queant Line (SejHember 2-3, 1918). — The Drocourt-Queant 
line was the last stronghold of the Bosche in Northern France, and the 
Germans exerted their supremest effort to hold it. The attack against this 
formidable system of trenches began on September 2nd, the 1st and 4th 
Canadian Divisions advancing astride the Arras-Cambrai Road. At 5 
a, m. that morning the 50th battalion assaulted behind an intense and 
devastating barrage, covering 500 yards to the enemy front line, clearing 
the trenches with bombs and bayonets. In this assault 1,000 prisoners, 90 


machine guns, 2 anti-tank guns and a large quantity of other war material 
were taken. After the capture of the first four lines of the Drocourt- 
Queant trench system had been completed by the 50th, the 46th passed 
through and captured Dury. On September 3rd, the advance was con- 
tinued, the 50th covering the 44th and driving the enemy back on the 
Canal du Nord. Casualties : 33 killed, 210 wounded— total 243. 

Canal du Nord (September 27 -October 1, 1918). — On September 27th 
the 1st and 4th Divisions launched the attack for the Canadians across the 
Canal du Nord on the way to Cambrai. The 3rd Division was to pass 
through the 4th Division on the following day and continue the attack. At 
5 :30 a. m. on the 27th, the 10th infantry brigade, operating towards Bour- 
lon Wood, attacked the first objective led by the 46th battalion, the 50th 
being in support. The objective — ^the Marquion Line — was carried. Here 
the 11th and 12th brigades continued the advance. On the following day 
(September 28th), at 5:20 a. m. the 50th battalion jumped-off from its 
position northeast of Bourlon Wood and advanced across the Arras-Cam- 
brai Road, passing Raillencourt and Sailly to the Marcoing Line, where 
the 46th battalion passed through to the Cambrai-Douai Road. Next day 
(September 29th) the line was taken over by the 12th Infantry Brigade 
and the 50th battalion moved back to Bourlon Wood in divisional reserve. 
Casualties : 32 killed, 214 wounded— total 246. 

Valenciennes (November 1-2, 1918). — The 50th battalion terminated 
its arduous service in France at the battle of Valenciennes, or the capture 
of Mont Houy. On the 1st day of November, the 10th Infantry Brigade 
attacked Mount Houy at 5 :15 a. m. and captured the position of the enemy 
and advancing northeast to the edge of Valenciennes. The 50th battalion, 
closely supporting the 47th battalion, mopped up the area taken and formed 
a defensive flank along the west bank of La Rhonelle River. At 12 :30 
a. m. the following morning the 50th relieved the 47th in the front line. 
The nth and 12th infantry then took up the advance and occupied Val- 
enciennes and the 50th moved back into divisional reserve at Trith St. 
Leger. Casualties : 5 killed, 39 wounded, 85 gassed — total 129. 

Honours and awards : V. C. 1 ; D. S. 0. 6 ; M. C. 34 ; D. C. M. 23 ; M. M. 
227; M. S. M. 10; mention in despatches 27; Belgian Croix de Guerre 3; 
Russian Cross of St. George 6. 

Note: — The details of the various battles given in the above chapter 
were furnished by the Department of National Defence, Ottawa, through 
the kindness of G. J. Desbarats, Esq., C. M. G. 


The women of Alberta are well represented in all the national organi- 
zations for women. Like all Canadian women they have a genius for 
organization. Among the Alberta Branches of the national organizations 
are some of the most prominent women in Canada. The National Council 
of Women, The Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire, the Young 
Women's Christian Association, the Women's Christian Temperance 
Union, the Victoria Order of Nurses, the Women's Canadian Club, the 
National Council of Women, and other organizations have flourishing and 
aggressive locals in the principal centres of the Province. 

Of distinctly Provincial organizations, the most important are the 
Women's Institutes and the United Farm Women of Alberta. These two 
operate among the women of the rural districts. Besides these there are 
numerous isolated societies, leagues and clubs such as Musical Clubs, Uni- 
versity Clubs, Civic Clubs and Mothers Clubs. 

A third group of Women's organizations that exert a great influence in 
Alberta, as they do in every Province of Canada, consists of the mission- 
ary societies and ladies' aids of the various churches. Every city, town 
and village has a group or two of devoted women who foster the work of 
the religious denomination to which they belong. Without their energy 
and enthusiasm religious and missionary work would be at a low ebb in 
many places. They are the oldest type of women's organizations in the 
Province, as in all other parts of Canada, and exert a profound influence 
on the life of the community. 

It is generally recognized throughout the Dominion of Canada that the 
position of the women in Alberta is farther advanced than in any other 
Province. The women participate in a greater degree in the economic 
and political life of the Province than in most Provinces of Canada, and 
are rapidly taking their places beside the men in the conduct of public 

They enjoy the same status and legal rights. Their position depends 
entirely upon their desire to embrace their opportunities and train 
themselves for their waiting responsibilities. "To no one woman 
or group of women," says Mrs. Henrietta Muir Edwards, "is due 
the present splendid legal position of women in Alberta. It is due to the 
Alberta women, who, by their courage, endurance and ability did team 
work with their husbands and brothers in all that has made for the 



development of the Province. The present legal position of Alberta women 
was gained not by militant methods, nor denunciation and accusations of 
men, but by measuring up to the requirements of new surroundings and 
new duties; and also to the generous appreciation of Alberta men who 
have placed the women on an absolute equality in all the responsibilities 
and duties of full citizenship." 

It is a remarkable fact that woman suffrage was never opposed by 
any representative body of men in the entire Province. Women's rights 
have been enthusiastically supported by the United Farmers of Alberta. 
The attitude of the organized farmers gives the clue to the attitude of the 
men of the Province. Farm women have had a large share in developing 
Alberta. One of the delightful things about Alberta rural life is the 
absence of strain and dislocation in the relations between men and women. 
There is no jealousy that men will lose what women gain. Among the 
primitive necessities incident to pioneering a woman needs a man's help, 
and a man needs a woman's. She is helpless as a pioneer, but on the 
other hand the bachelor in a dreary ill-kept "shack" is not a happy or 
very efficient citizen. This fact is recognized by the banks. The mar- 
ried man with a family is a better risk for a banker's loan than a bach- 

To quote from a recent writer from the Old Country on life in West- 
ern Canada: "For a man in the West marriage does not mean what it 
does among the well-to-do at home, giving up comfortable bachelor lodg- 
ings for an expensive life of house-owning and smart dinners; it means 
leaving a ghastly loneliness for companionship and help, and squalor for 
decent comfort. For a woman in this new land the sphere of the home 
does not mean polishing scratches on silver or decorating the dining room 
with masses of flowers, but feeding and clothing and cheering husband 
and children, and being kind to poor bachelors round about who need 
kindness badly. Woman is at her old task as the civilizer, not as the 

When the Torrens System of land registration was introduced into 
the North West Territories in 1886 dower rights were abrogated. For 
years there was strong feeling on this question as much among men as 
among women. It was universally recognized that the homesteader's 
wife had as great a share in developing the raw prairie homestead into 
a comfortable and prosperous home as her husband and that it was an 
injustice that this product of their joint labour became his sole prop- 
erty. The feeling grew until the anomaly was corrected by the Alberta 
legislature in passing the Married Women's Relief Act and the Dower 
Act. By the first act mentioned, the widow of a man who dies leaving a 
will, by the terms of which in the opinion of the judge, the widow re- 
ceives less than if her husband died intestate, may apply to the Supreme 
Court for relief. By the Dower Act the widow is entitled to a life inter- 
est in the homestead of the deceased husband. Broadly speaking the term 




homestead may be said to be the place occupied as the residence at the 
time of the husband's death. In towns and cities it is considered to be 
not more than four adjoining lots in one block in which the house occu- 
pied by the husband at his decease was situated. In rural districts the 
term homestead by the act is restricted to one quarter section of land. 
The legislation on these questions was not regarded as chivalrous con- 
cessions by the husband, but as a recognition of fundamental rights of 
the wife. For similar reasons the men of Alberta have always been in 
favour of giving women the vote. And when in 1916 the Honourable A. 
L. Sifton proposed to confer the franchise on the women of the Province, 
his Government was strongly supported in the press of the country, and 
in the legislature. 

It is not surprising, therefore, that Alberta has led the way in several 
lines of women's endeavours. It granted equal suffrage a few months 
later than Manitoba. For years women had served on hospital boards, 
library boards, school boards, but Alberta was the first Province in Can- 
ada to elect women to the Legislative Assembly. In the general election 
in 1917 Mrs. Louise McKinney was elected for the riding of Claresholm, 
and Miss Roberta McAdams was elected as one of the Soldier represen- 
tatives. In 1913 Mrs. R. R. Jamieson and Mrs. Fred Langford, of 
Calgary, were appointed Juvenile Court Commissioners for the trial of 
juvenile offenders. Mrs. Jamieson was the first woman officer of this class 
appointed in Canada. In 1916 Mrs. Arthur Murphy ("Janey Canuck") 
and Mrs. R. R. Jamieson were appointed Police Magistrates for the trial 
of women offenders in their respective cities of Edmonton and Calgary. 
Dr. Evelyn Windsor who was in charge of the medical work in the Cal- 
gary schools was the first woman physician to be sent overseas from Can- 
ada by the Department of Militia. The latest honour accorded women in 
Alberta has been the elevation of Mrs. Walter Parlby to a seat in the 
Provincial Cabinet, August, 1921. Mrs. Parlby is Minister without Port- 
folio, the second woman in the British Empire to win that distinguished 
position. The first was Mrs. Mary Ellen Smith, of Vancouver, elevated 
to a similar position in the Cabinet of British Columbia in 1920. 

The National Council of Women is represented by locals in Edmon- 
ton, Calgary, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Red Deer and Wetaskiwin. 
The women identified with these organizations have devoted their activ- 
ties to social and economic problems concerning women. Such subjects 
as equal parental control, homes for mentally deficient children and des- 
titute old people, mothers' pensions, and equal moral standards for men 
and women, have been strongly advocated, and the passing of legislation 
on these subjects is in a great measure due to the intelligent propaganda 
of the various branches of the Local Councils. 

The Independent Order of the Daughters of the Empire is a patri- 
otic organization and valiantly discharged that duty during the years of 
the Great war. The Daughters of the Empire in Alberta were the first 


to take up the support of the families of the first reservists called in Au- 
gust, 1914, to join their old regiments overseas, as well as the support 
of the families of the members of the First Canadian contingent. This 
work they carried on until the Canadian Patrotic Fund was organized 
and in a position to dispense relief. When the war broke out there were 
not more than half- a dozen Chapters of the Order in the Province ; when 
the war closed in 1918, there were eighty-seven Chapters in the Province, 
with a membership of about 2,500 devoted to every phase of war relief. 
During the four years the Order collected $250,000 for patriotic purposes. 

Organized action on behalf of women in rural districts is promoted 
by the United Farm Women of Alberta and the Women's Institutes. The 
former is the sister organization of the United Farmers of Alberta and 
was begun in 1915. Since 1913 women have been eligible as members of 
the United Farmers of Alberta. It was but a step to form themselves 
into a separate section. This was done in 1915 with Mrs. Walter Parlby 
(now Honourable Mrs. Walter Parlby) as President. She was succeeded 
in 1919 by Mrs. Marion Sears. The President of the Women's section 
is also a member of the Board of Directors of the United Farmers of Al- 
berta. The organized farmers thus carry out very thoroughly the demo- 
cratic principles for which they stand. During the war the United Farm 
Women were active in support of the Red Cross, Belgian Relief, Patriotic 
Fund, and other relief work. They bore a heavy strain in assisting in 
greater production for the armies and people of the Allies. Farm help 
in the house and in the field was almost unprocurable; notwithstanding 
the scarcity of labour the rate of production of all foodstuff's was enor- 
mously increased. Their work was undoubtedly a great factor in Al- 
berta's contribution to win the war. 

The Women's Institutes of Alberta were organized under the auspices 
of the Department of Agriculture of the Province. The work carried on 
by these organizations was first carried on in conjunction with the Farm- 
ers' Institutes. But the growing influence of women in matters of state 
policy and improvement of country life conditions led to a separate or- 
ganization in 1916. This was done by an act of the legislature which 
provided for the formation of Women's Institutes in any district where 
eight or more women over sixteen years of age apply to the department 
to be constituted. Small provincial grants are given and the work super- 
intended by an officer of the department. Miss Mary Mclsaac was the 
first superintendent of the work in Alberta. In 1921 she was succeeded 
by Miss Jessie McMillan, who still superintends this work for the Gov- 
ernment of Alberta. 

The work of Women's Institutes is devoted almost entirely to the im- 
provement of social conditions in rural communities. Home nursing, 
sanitation, sickroom cooking, child welfare, food values, house furnish- 
ing and local neighborhood needs are representative activities that en- 
gage the attention of the Institutes. The work has been carried on by the 


women of the Province with great enthusiasm and with great promise 
for the future improvement of rural life. Different communities attack 
different problems. Some Institutes have established rest rooms in the 
towns for the country women who shop there. Others have devoted their 
energies to obtaining medical and nursing assistance, others to the estab- 
lishment of libraries in their districts, and others to child welfare work. 
Through the Department of Agriculture lecturers and demonstrators are 
furnished to Institutes and short courses are given in subjects embraced 
within the scope of the act. 

In recent years the work of the Women's Institutes has been enlarged 
to include the girls of rural communities. There are now (1921) fifty- 
four Women's Institute Girls' Clubs with a membership of 850. The ob- 
jects of such clubs are the improvement of social and educational con- 
ditions among girls of school and adolescent age. 

During the war the activities of the Women's Institutes were directed 
particularly to Red Cross and Patriotic work, but much was also done 
in the line of community improvements. Public libraries were estab- 
lished, the number of rest rooms in operation doubled, garden contests 
and flower shows held by increased number of Institutes and some Insti- 
tutes organized Children's Day, when prizes were donated for general 
proficiency, regular attendance at school, drawing, sewing, cooking and 
flowers. In 1915 $6,459.00 was contributed to various war funds, and in 
1916 $30,166.87 raised for war purposes, and 32,243 articles sent to 
soldiers overseas. 

In 1918 the Women's Institute of Alberta was successful in completing 
the organization of the Society. The Province was divided into four 
geographical districts, the units of which were provincial electoral con- 
stituencies ; each constituency elected a constituency executive board. 

During 1919 and after the Spanish influenza epidemic it was thought 
advisable that instruction in home nursing and the care of the sick should 
be given to as many Institutes as were prepared to receive it. Conse- 
quently, short course schools in home nursing and first aid were given 
at fifty-four centres throughout the Province, with a total attendance 
of 3,409 women. 

In 1919 the total membership was 13,150 with a total of 365 Insti- 
tutes ; 2,585 persons of 461 families were supplied with complete outfits 
of clothing; large numbers of layettes were supplied by the relief depot 
in those districts where the need was most urgent; $3,600 worth of new 
garments were purchased from the wholesalers with money contributed, 
and 22,042 garments were distributed by the depot; twenty-five Insti- 
tutes gave prizes to students for various types of merits ; one Institute 
completely furnished a domestic science kitchen ; another Institute do- 
nated $100 worth of books to the local school. 

There are thirty-eight Women's Institute Rest Rooms and Community 
Homes in Alberta, of this number approximately one-third of the Insti- 


tutes own their buildings. A number of these homes have been built 
in memory of the boys from the district who fell in the Great war. 

The Young Women's Christian Association and the Catholic Women's 
League have strong organizations in the principal cities. These two or- 
ganizations exist mainly for the care of young women away from home. 
Each conducts splendid homes for business girls. While specializing on 
this splendid community service, they do a great deal of charity and pa- 
triotic work. The Catholic Women's League of Edmonton was very active 
during the war in assisting the Red Cross, French Relief Fund and Bel- 
gian Relief. 

In the four principal cities of the Province there is a Children's Aid 
Society to assist in carrying out the objects of the Provincial laws respect- 
ing the protection of children. These Societies are mostly in the hands 
of women, who, in addition to keeping public sentiment alive on questions 
of child welfare maintain and manage children's homes for such children 
who need temporary care through the illness or misfortune of their 

The war brought into existence two associations of women. These 
were the Next of Kin Associations, incorporated under a Provincial act; 
and the War Widows' Association. They sprung up in the cities and prin- 
cipal towns. While husbands, brothers and sons were overseas the Next 
of Kin Associations rendered valuable community service in protecting 
dependents at home in matters